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A Political History of the World

Three Thousand Years of War and Peace (A Pelican Book)
Narrated by: Roy McMillan
Length: 15 hrs and 5 mins
Categories: History, World
4.5 out of 5 stars (55 ratings)

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Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of A Political History of the World by Jonathan Holslag, read by Roy McMillan. 

In 3,000 years of history, China has spent at least 11 centuries at war. The Roman Empire was in conflict during at least 50 percent of its lifetime. Since 1776, the United States has spent over 100 years at war. The dream of peace has been universal in the history of humanity. So why have we so rarely been able to achieve it? 

In A Political History of the World, Jonathan Holslag has produced a sweeping history of the world, from the Iron Age to the present, that investigates the causes of conflict between empires, nations and peoples and the attempts at diplomacy and cosmopolitanism. A bird's-eye view of 3,000 years of history, the book illuminates the forces shaping world politics from ancient Egypt to the Han Dynasty, the Pax Romana to the rise of Islam, the Peace of Westphalia to the creation of the United Nations.

This truly global approach enables Holslag to search for patterns across different eras and regions and explore larger questions about war, diplomacy, and power. Has trade fostered peace? What are the limits of diplomacy? How does environmental change affect stability? Is war a universal sin of power? At a time when the threat of nuclear war looms again, this is a much-needed history intended for students of international politics and anyone looking for a background on current events.

©2018 Jonathan Holslag (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Concise summary of war and peace throughout history

A great deal of information packed into this audiobook, and we learn about many conflicts and how they came about. But the author never considers the decline of war and violence, as documented by Steven Pinker.

2 people found this helpful

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great history

very good. packs last 300 years into the last chapter. this last chapter could have been stretched out a bit more. Packed with information on history, politics, economics and literature through the ages.

1 person found this helpful

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No discoveries here...

I studied history so for this very reason I have a basic knowledge which wasn't enlightened at all. Somehow we were traveling through history so fast that the subjects the author was talking about were hardly touched. I also imagined to have more diplomacy, the reasons why and how but all I got it was shallow facts everyone knows from history school books.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Fantastic

Does exactly what it says on the tin. If like me, you had a patchy knowledge of how current geo-politics came to pass, then this will fill a lot of gaps.

Prepare to be left with the feeling that we humans are hard wired for power hierarchy, bloodshed and folly.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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More history than political history

The final chapter with the conclusions and analysis is for me the most interesting part of this book. It is an overall good historical review of the last 3000 (or so) years, but for most part -with the exception of the last couple of centuries, it reads more like general history. I was expecting more politics into it, parties in different countries, different political systems developing, class structures and struggle.But it's worthy for its conclusions. If you are happy with your historical knowledge skip straight to it.

2 people found this helpful

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A broad, shallow 3000yr history, expertly narrated

No idea if McMillan's pronunciations of people/place names are accurate but they're certainly very convincing!

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Great book but too much to cover.

Great book and algo very good narration in British accent. I would recommend as an overview.

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Sorta

left wanting after finishing this, lots of wee bits of info throughout but could be longer for sure.