World History: 50 Key Milestones You Really Need To Know

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Author: Ian Crofton
ISBN: 978-085-738-0753
RRP: $24.99

Are there gaps in your history knowledge? Did your education focus on a relatively narrow range of historical topics?

This is quite a common complaint, and understandable when you consider that there is around 4 million years between us and when the first recognisable humans walked the earth. That is an amazing amount of history to fit into an education, any education.

Ian Crofton is not trying to fill those gaps because it wouldn’t be possible – especially not in a 208 page book!

world history

World History: 50 Key Milestones You Really Need To Know is a collection of 50 snapshots of the world throughout time. A glimpse into a period of our past that will give a brief overview of the point Crofton is trying to make and maybe give a starting point to anyone who is interested in pursuing the topic further.

Comprised of, who would have guessed, 50 Essays this book concentrates on 50 historical milestones and each essay gives a brief and interesting look at the world around the milestone moment. Some of these milestones aren’t moments – moments are fleeting but these essays are often about a period of time.

1 – The Beginning of Agriculture, around 10,000 years ago, focuses on how agriculture totally remade society and the lifecycles of the the people in the world at that time.

50 – 9/11 and after – A chapter that is still fresh and raw to today’s society. A milestone moment we are still recovering from so still extremely relevant.

As you can see the book really does try to cover start to finish because the dawn of humanity to the dawn of the war on terror encompasses basically all of history. That’s not to say that this book claims to cover all of history – it doesn’t. What it does do is span that whole time and pick out 50 major happenings that have affected the lives we live today. 50 events or periods that may inspire someone with an interest in history to dig a little deeper and use it as a springboard into research of their own.

World History: 50 Key Milestones You Really Need To Know is beautifully laid out and extremely well written. Crofton’s style is clear and concise. Evoking the relevant time in the emotions of the reader.

As well as the informative essays this volume includes a quite detailed timeline running from chapter 1 right through to the end. Allowing those of us who like to know what happened where and when with the information ever at our fingertips. It seems to run almost continuously throughout the book – I say almost because I have found some overlap though it is only ever minimal.

Featured boxes in each chapter add a brief ‘fun fact’ on a topic related to the current essay. The beginning of agriculture has a fact box about the dangers ancients faced to their teeth when they began eating cereals and shattering their teeth on rock used to grind the grain.

Another fabulous feature is the contemporary quotations included to evoke the flavour of the period, included in most sections. Quotations have been included by: Adolf Hitler, Barrack Obama, George W. Bush, Aristotle from Politics, Julius Ceasar (as quoted in Plutarch, Life of Ceasar) to name just a few!

Each essay/ chapter is topped off by a one sentence summary – In a Nutshell. These are quite clever and really, if all you can retain is the In a Nutshell sentences you have still walked away with new knowledge.

If you would like to really give your grey matter a work out then you need to check out this book and see if you can fill some holes in your history knowledge.

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