In 1935, Ernst Gombrich was invited to attempt a history of the world for younger readers. He was 26 years old had a doctorate in art history and no prospect of a job. He completed the task in six weeks.
This is a fascinating book. In 40 concise chapters, Gombrich tells the story of man, the story of us, from the Stone Age to the Atomic Bomb. However, instead of providing the reader with a deluge of dates and facts, Gombrich leaves out the boring bits and recounts our history in an amiable way as if he is in the room with you – telling a story.
This story starts with ‘Once upon a time’ and as Gombrich weaves expertly in and out of real-life events we learn of humanity’s achievements and are reminded of our failings. We cannot see where the story ends, but we do hope there is a happy ending.
Ernst Gombrich’s wonderful book demonstrates that history does not need to be boring or stuffy; history books do not need to be covered with a thick layer of centuries old dust before they appear interesting. It is the tales contained within the covers that are important – it’s all about the stories!
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. For further information please click here