A History of the World in 100 Objects

Front Cover
Penguin, 2011 M10 27 - 736 pages
"An enthralling and profoundly humane book that every civilized person should read."
--The Wall Street Journal 

The blockbuster New York Times bestseller and the companion volume to the wildly popular radio series

When did people first start to wear jewelry or play music? When were cows domesticated, and why do we feed their milk to our children? Where were the first cities, and what made them succeed? Who developed math--or invented money?

The history of humanity is one of invention and innovation, as we have continually created new things to use, to admire, or leave our mark on the world. In this groundbreaking book, Neil MacGregor turns to objects that previous civilizations have left behind to paint a portrait of mankind's evolution, focusing on unexpected turning points. 

Beginning with a chopping tool from the Olduvai Gorge in Africa and ending with a recent innovation that is transforming the way we power our world, he urges us to see history as a kaleidoscope--shifting, interconnected, constantly surprising. A landmark bestseller, A History of the World in 100 Objects is one f the most unusual and engrossing history books to be published in years.  

“None could have imagined quite how the radio series would permeate the national consciousness. Well over 12.5 million podcasts have been downloaded since the first programme and more than 550 museums around Britain have launched similar series featuring local history. . . . MacGregor’s voice comes through as distinctively as it did on radio and his arguments about the interconnectedness of disparate societies through the ages are all the stronger for the detail afforded by extra space. A book to savour and start over.”
The Economist


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bostonian71 - LibraryThing

Fantastic resource for anyone who loves history, culture and/or museums. Even though the title reads *A* history, it could've been called *The* history, given the sheer breadth of the themes and ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - murderbydeath - LibraryThing

Wow, this book took awhile for me to get through. So much interesting information that I had to read only a few sections per sitting if I had any hope of retaining what I read. I found the objects to ... Read full review


Mission Impossible
Olduvai Stone Chopping Tool
Olduvai Handaxe
Clovis Spear Point
Ain SakhriLoversFigurine 8 Egyptian Clay Modelof Cattle
Hinton St Mary Mosaic
Arabian Bronze Hand
The Silk Road and Beyond
Ife Head
The David Vases
Taino Ritual Seat
PART FOURTEEN Meeting the Gods AD 12001500
Holy Thorn Reliquary

PART THREE The First Cities andStates
King Dens Sandal Label
Standard of
Indus Seal 14 Jade Axe 15 Early WritingTablet PART FOUR The Beginnings of Science and Literature 2000700
Flood Tablet
Rhind Mathematical Papyrus
Minoan Bullleaper
Mold Gold Cape
Statue of Ramesses II
PART FIVE Old WorldNewPowers 1100300BC
Lachish Reliefs 22 Sphinx ofTaharqo 23 Chinese Zhou Ritual Vessel
Gold Coin of Croesus
PART SIX The World in the Age of Confucius 500300
Centaurand Lapith 28 BasseYutz Flagons
Olmec Stone Mask
Chinese Bronze Bell
Coin with Head of Alexander
Pillar of Ashoka
Rosetta Stone
Chinese Han Lacquer
North American Otter Pipe
Ceremonial Ballgame Belt
Hoxne Pepper
Icon of the Triumph of Orthodoxy
Shiva and Parvati Sculpture
Sculpture of Huastec Goddess
Hoa Hakananaia Easter IslandStatue
PART FIFTEEN The Threshold of the Modern World AD 13751550
Tughra of Suleimanthe Magnificent 72 Ming Banknote
Inca Gold Llama
Jade Dragon
Dürers Rhinoceros
Tolerance and Intolerance
The Oba with Europeans 78 Doubleheaded Serpent 79 Elephants 80 Pieces of Eight
Shia Religious Parade Standard
Miniature of a Mughal Prince
Shadow Puppet of Bima
PART EIGHTEEN Exploration Exploitation and Enlightenment
Hawaiian Feather Helmet
North American Buckskin
Australian BarkShield
AD 17801914 91 Ships Chronometer from HMS Beagle
Sudanese Slit Drum
Suffragettedefaced Penny
PART TWENTY The World of our Making
Listof Objects

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About the author (2011)

Neil MacGregor has blazed an unusual path to international renown. As director of the British Museum, he organized an exhibit that aimed to tell the history of humanity through the stories of one hundred objects made, used, venerated, or discarded by man. The exhibit and its accompanying BBC radio series broke broadcasting records and MacGregor’s book became a bestselling sensation on both sides of the Atlantic. He is also the author of Shakespeare’s Restless World.

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