Just a quick note to lavish some praise on a fine tome, the updated and revised edition of which proudly resides on my bookshelf. The New Penguin History Of The World, by J M Roberts.
More or less a chronicle of human civilization, it represents a daunting but rewarding read, and it is difficult to imagine that many better books of its type exist, at least in the mainstream. I myself have been particularly enthused by the chapters dealing with the early civilizations of the Near East and the Mediterranean, and was duly inspired to explore that subject more widely. I suspect that various portions of this work will have a similar galvanizing effect on others.
This volume manages to cover many bases whilst offering some depth. It goes in a few unexpected directions, and does not focus undue attention on the most "obvious" and famous developments and events of popular legend, seeking to puncture or lay to rest a few misconceptions and myths along the way. There is a real richness and zest here, and an effort to knit together the various strands to show how civilization evolved and blossomed.
Every home should have one!