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  • A People’s History of the World

  • From the Stone Age to the New Millennium
  • By: Chris Harman
  • Narrated by: Napoleon Ryan
  • Length: 29 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, World
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (30 ratings)

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Summary

Chris Harman describes the shape and course of human history as a narrative of ordinary people forming and re-forming complex societies in pursuit of common human goals. Interacting with the forces of technological change as well as the impact of powerful individuals and revolutionary ideas, these societies have engendered events familiar to every schoolchild - from the empires of antiquity to the world wars of the 20th century.

In a bravura conclusion, Chris Harman exposes the reductive complacency of contemporary capitalism, and asks, in a world riven as never before by suffering and inequality, why we imagine that it can - or should - survive much longer. Ambitious, provocative and invigorating, A People's History of the World delivers a vital corrective to traditional history, as well as a powerful sense of the deep currents of humanity which surge beneath the froth of government.

©2017 Verso (P)2017 Tantor

Critic reviews

“I have had many people ask me if there is a book which does for world history what my book A People's History of the United States does for this country. I always responded that I know of only one book that accomplishes this extremely difficult task, and that is Chris Harman's A People's History of the World. It is an indispensable volume on my reference bookshelf." (Howard Zinn)

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What listeners say about A People’s History of the World

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interesting approach

A really good listen, this book really helps to open up ones mind to different realities.

5 people found this helpful

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Get a different narrator

Tried to listen, his monotone and non-engaging voice threw me off. Struggled to listen. Would be nice if it wasn't inherently politically biased. I want to know the facts.

2 people found this helpful

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Totally Absorbing (but I have a gripe)

Can I take the opportunity of gently suggesting to the kind folks at Audible: Please, oh, please extend the sleep timer by at least ONE HOUR to help me get through massive tomes such as this. The present sixty minutes is totally inadequate for insomniacs like me. I know you'll do this for me so I'm going to take the liberty of thanking you in advance ! Oh, and by the way, this is a tremendous work, worthy of at least six stars.

4 people found this helpful

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An epic work by a giant in the field

Clearly this is a great work and I recommend it to anyone deeply interested in world history, economics or sociology. It is pretty heavy and will test any reader not already well informed on the themes. A basic course in sociology would no doubt help with terms and general appreciation.

1 person found this helpful

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  • C
  • 13-07-20

Great overview of leftist world history

A great overview of history from a Marxist perspective if slightly western centric at times.

1 person found this helpful

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Disappointing

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

A patient Marxist.

Has A People's History of the World put you off other books in this genre?

No

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Napoleon Ryan?

He has a deep, resonant voice; the problem is that he reads each sentence ponderously. And pauses after each.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Perhaps—I didn't get to the end.

Any additional comments?

I don't mind a left-wing view of history, but this is extreme; everything is framed as class struggle or ideological—even cavemen. And the evidence consists of citing other historians' conclusions.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Nothing really matters
  • 14-09-19

Changed my view of history and explains so much!

This book helped me see how extensively white-washed the history we were taught in school was.

No wonder we don't question why we work harder than ever so the multinational corporate big wigs, who already have so much more than any human needs, can double and triple that wealth.

The 1% get richer and richer while we the people struggle just to pay bills and provide for our children.

This brand of insanity is what helped bring down the Roman Empire, and many other empires, and it may well bring down the American Empire (yes, it's an empire).

PS: My only quibble is that the narrator has a slightly unnatural and distracting style. You can ignore it much of the time, though.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-11-17

Well written and compelling!

This book is beautifully written and has a complimenting voice actor accompanying it. I have learned so much and anticipate more to come. As a history major I'm used to listening to history lecture after lecture but I could listen to this all day. Thank you! AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

18 people found this helpful

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  • Joey
  • 31-07-20

Well done

I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook and the narrator. It was very entertaining and informative.

I was amazed at the coverage of the world history, because it didn't neglect any continent or period of time.

I will probably have to listen to it again a second or third time to understand some of the complexity of historical events.

6 people found this helpful

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  • grantnoreen
  • 10-03-19

Should've been narrated by anyone else

The information is indispensable, but the narration is terrible. It sounds as if he's trying to make his performance the focal point instead of book.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Barbara
  • 14-02-21

Great book, odd narrator choices

The book is a great summary of history focused in on the way people and their movements and economic choices shape history as opposed to reducing the whole thing to a bunch of great men doing great things. But the Narrator makes some odd choices when it comes to handling quotations and parenthetical expressions that makes him come off as overdramatic and distracts a bit from the work.

4 people found this helpful

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  • J. G. Carpenter
  • 06-09-18

unlistenable

I wanted to listen to this but the narration is just too ridiculous. It sounds like voice that reads the intro to the 1980's made-for-tv horror series "Tales from the Darkside." Ludicrously overdone, and moreover exhausting if not numbing to listen to. I can't imagine why the producers of this program chose this style of presentation. I gave the story three stars but really have no idea because I couldn't listen to more than ten minutes of this.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Timothy A Shaw, Sr.
  • 05-03-18

Intellectually interesting.

It was a good review of World History, which results in more creative results with my continuing economic research.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Peter
  • 30-11-20

Actor's voice distracts from content

I found myself completely distracted by the overemphasized inflection and odd accent which the actor seems to be able to turn on and off. I had trouble getting into the content because of this. Its like the actor is trying too hard and faking direction from someone who hasn't listened to 30 hour audio books and therefore doesn't understand how distracting this dude's horrible fake inflection really is.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Darren Lobo
  • 12-11-18

Irritating narrator

Loved the content but it was a struggle to listen to this narrator. Corniest most annoying voice I've heard on audible.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Robert
  • 28-03-18

Oh God avoid

The narrator is the worst I’ve ever heard. His delivery is so ham - every sentence parsed like it’s the most important proclamation. Gaps and pauses abound for faux dramatic effect. Try a sample and you’ll see what I mean. Awful awful awful. I can’t comment on the content because I got about 3 minutes in before clawing for my headphones

22 people found this helpful