In 1935, with a doctorate in art history and no prospect of a job, twenty-six-year-old Ernst Gombrich was invited to attempt a history of the world for younger readers. Amazingly, he completed the task in an intense six weeks, and Eine kurze Weltgeschichte für junge Leser was published in Vienna to immediate success. It is now an international bestseller and available in almost thirty languages across the world.
In forty concise chapters, Gombrich tells the story of man from the Stone Age to the atomic bomb. In between emerges a colorful picture of wars and conquests, grand works of art, and the spread and limitations of science. This is a text dominated not by dates and facts but by the sweep of mankind's experience across the centuries, a guide to humanity's achievements and an acute witness to its frailties. The product of a generous and humane sensibility, this timeless account makes intelligible the full span of human history.
The bedtime book in our household at the moment is A Little History of the World, it is perfect for reading out loud and is being enjoyed by all; 5, 7 & 9 year old girls and me (a lot older!). It covers many of the world’s major events from prehistory through to early last century. It is beautifully written, informative and wise. - Sarah
'I wish it had been available when I was young.' Allan Massie, Literary Review
'There is not one of the 39 short chapters that is not enlivened by a sharp insight or arresting image.' Tim Blanning, The Sunday Telegraph
'With Gombrich's Little History, at last available in English there will be many generations of future historians who will attribute to it their lifelong passion for history - and for truth.' Lisa Jardine, The Times
'Do not, from its title, underestimate this book.' Brian Sewell, Evening Standard
'Gombrich opens with the most magical definition of history I have ever read.' Amanda Vickery, Guardian Review
'Brilliant, irresistible: a wonderful surprise.' Philip Pullman
'the whole experience of human history, from prehistory to the Second World War, compressed into a flowing narrative... A delight.' The Daily Telegraph
Among E. H. Gombrich's many writings are the international bestsellers The Story of Art and Art and Illusion. He was director of the Warburg Institute of the University of London from 1959 to 1976.