So to my reading roulette, and this months selection was A History of the world in 100 objects by Neil Macgregor.
When I first read this I didn’t realise that this was a book to accompany a very successful radio show on BBC Radio 4, which is thankfully still available to listen to.
I’ve had this for 6 years and have been reluctant to read this as I have to be in the right frame of mind for certain non-fiction books. Especially ones that seem like they are going to be a stream of facts with not a lot of context, so “A History of the world . . “ pleasantly surprised me. This book isn’t weighed down with facts and history, the author doesn’t go into too much uneccesary detail or waffle on too much. He provides just enough information to peak your interest.
Each object has its own chapter, and each chapter is reassuringly only a few pages long and nicely segmented. Its a bite-size history of the era in which the object was made, the story of the finding the object, and a couple of ‘expert’ opinions on the objects impact on the world.
When I read Non-fiction I like to come away from the experience with a ‘Party fact’ (you know, that bit of useless trivia you tell people at social gatherings to either fill a silence or sound interesting) and I certainly got my fair share with this book.
My party fact would be the flood tablet, the story on the
tablet tells the tale of a man who was told by his god to build a boat and load it with his family and animals because a deluge is about to wipe humanity from earth. The thing that made this stick in my mind was that it pre-dated the Noah story by about 400 years.
Of course, since reading I’ve looked into this and found out that there are many flood stories that pre-date Noah, but at the time I was thinking “How does the world not know about this?” “Does Richard Dawkins know about this?” A little research has prevented me from a social faux pas, but still it’s all intriguing.
The History of the world in 100 objects, does exactly what it says on the tin!