Human Race: 10 Centuries of Change on Earth by Ian Mortimer

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Human Race: 10 Centuries of Change on Earth by Ian Mortimer

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Category: History
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: A book that manages to be straightforward and helpfully informative, yet dizzingly engrossing and exciting at the same time – Human Race is a provocative and hugely educational tour of ten centuries, with author Ian Mortimer serving as a knowledgeable guide.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: October 2015
Publisher: Vintage
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0099593386

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We are an astonishing species. Over the past millennium of plagues and exploration, revolution and scientific discovery, women's rights and technological advances, human society has changed beyond recognition. Best known for his Time Traveller's Guide history books, Ian Mortimer here gives the reader a whistle-stop tour through ten centuries. Human Race contains the lunar leaps and lightbulb moments that, for better or worse, have sent humanity swerving down a path that no-one could have predicted. The question here is which of the last ten centuries saw the greatest change in human history?

I love a good history book – and here Ian Mortimer successfully blurs the line between in-depth history and brief overview. Whilst he deals with the events of each century in just one chapter, each chapter is packed so full of facts, figures, and anecdotes that it is completely impossible to come away from this book without feeling educated.

Mortimer's great skill, is that despite being a hugely knowledgeable man, he never takes a tone of superiority with the reader, but instead takes them by the hand and takes them on an exciting and enthusiastic tour of history. Those eager to learn will come away with all sorts of fascinating information from this book – I noted down various moments and people that I'm eager to learn about.

The idea to find out the greatest changes of the last hundred years is a particularly intriguing one. Cars, Planes, Guns, Buttons, Steam Power, Medicine, the Printing Press, Women's Rights, the Internet – I don't think anyone could put their finger on the greatest change immediately. Ian Mortimer makes a good case, but the ultimate question is still left open for the reader to come to their own conclusion. Having previously read the authors The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England and The Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England, I was a little concerned that the huge amount of time this book covers would make it a far less engrossing read. That worry is barely an issue though – whilst I can't deny that there are areas of history I wish the author had spent longer on, I've was given so much information about other areas I knew little about, that I have very little cause to complain! A fast paced ride through history, Human Race has a more than capable narrator who will leave you exhilarated, excited, and somewhat dazed…

Many thanks to the publishers for the copy. For further reading I would recommend The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century by Ian Mortimer. A bestseller, this as an engrossing book that really plunges the reader into medieval life – making you feel part of history in an involving, exciting, and occasionally moving way. I'd also recommend listening to this on audio book for a truly immersive experience.

Buy Human Race: 10 Centuries of Change on Earth by Ian Mortimer at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Human Race: 10 Centuries of Change on Earth by Ian Mortimer at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Human Race: 10 Centuries of Change on Earth by Ian Mortimer at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Human Race: 10 Centuries of Change on Earth by Ian Mortimer at Amazon.com.

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