A Little History of the World by E. H. Gombrich
2006, Blackstone Audiobooks.
Reviewed by Ana Braga-Henebry, M.A.
This is the kind of book that is written for children and yet any adult will enjoy it immensely. We listened to it during a summer trip, and all of our children, from 6 to 20 years old, were enthralled. Reader Ralph Coshan won an audio award for the reading of the book and we have truly grown to love the sound of his voice.
Gombrich's A Little History of the World is right up there with Hillyer's A Child's History of the World, but even better--which I never thought I would say, as A Child's History of the World has been a favorite of mine for years. Gombrich himself revised and translated his own 1930's text into English before his death in 2002. This is why we have a recent publication in English of a European bestselling history text for children from the 1930s! The text is geared to children a bit older than the Calvert School classic, which is good for a homeschooling family.
I love the way the author dealt with a huge Catholic theme: the Reformation! And I love the fact that there is a whole chapter on the Counter-Reformation, which is largely ignored by the American public when studying European history. His account of Saint Ignatius Loyola's story and the founding of the Company of Jesus (Jesuits) makes this volume very Catholic-friendly indeed, which is something to be said for a history book from any major secular publisher. The way the author refers to God, and to the person of Jesus Christ, and to His teachings, is very respectful and wonderfully done. In my research about Gombrich's faith life, I learned that he converted to Christianity from Judaism early in his life.
I am currently leading a History 3rd/4th grade small class using Hillyer's text and comparing/complementing it with Van Loon's Story of Mankind. I believe these three volumes together can make up a superb World History curriculum for elementary school! Hedgeschool's First Timeline, done in first and second grades, would be a great place to start.
Highly recommended. This will be a great addition to your homeschool audio library.
Available from Blackstone Audio.