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By E. H. Gombrich

In 1935, with a doctorate in artwork background and no prospect of a task, the 26-year-old Ernst Gombrich was once invited via a publishing acquaintance to aim a historical past of the area for more youthful readers. Amazingly, he accomplished the duty in an extreme six weeks, and Eine kurze Weltgeschichte für junge Leser used to be released in Vienna to rapid luck, and is now to be had in seventeen languages internationally.

towards the top of his lengthy lifestyles, Gombrich embarked upon a revision and, ultimately, an English translation. a bit background of the realm offers his vigorous and regarding historical past to English-language readers for the 1st time. beautifully designed and freshly illustrated, this can be a e-book to be savored and picked up.

In 40 concise chapters, Gombrich tells the tale of guy from the stone age to the atomic bomb. In among emerges a colourful photo of wars and conquests, grand artistic endeavors, and the unfold and obstacles of technological know-how. it is a textual content ruled now not by way of dates and evidence, yet through the sweep of mankind’s event around the centuries, a advisor to humanity’s achievements and an acute witness to its frailties.

The made from a beneficiant and humane sensibility, this undying account makes intelligible the whole span of human historical past.

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Example text

Who can say how long it will continue to keep watch? And yet the most important part of the Egyptians’ strange religion was their belief that, although a man’s soul left his body when he died, for some reason the soul went on needing that body, and would suffer if it crumbled into dust. So they invented a very ingenious way of preserving the bodies of the dead. They rubbed them with ointments and the juices of certain plants, and bandaged them with long strips of cloth, so that they wouldn’t decay.

The Phoenicians (for this was the name of the people of Tyre and Sidon) made their conquests by other means. They sailed across the seas to unknown shores, where they landed and set up trading posts. The wild tribes living there brought them furs and precious stones in exchange for tools, cooking pots and coloured cloth. For Phoenician craftsmanship was known throughout the world – indeed, their artisans had even helped in the construction of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. Most popular of all their goods was their dyed cloth, especially the purple, which they sold throughout the world.

Twice a year, when heavy rain filled its sources, the river would swell and burst its banks, flooding the whole land. Then people were forced to take to boats to move among the houses and the palm trees. And when the waters withdrew, the earth was wonderfully drenched and rich with oozing mud. There, under the hot sun, the grain grew as it H      11 did nowhere else. Which is why, from earliest times, the Egyptians worshipped the Nile as if it were God himself. Would you like to hear a hymn they sang to their river, four thousand years ago?

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