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The Cartoon History of the Modern World Part 1: From Columbus to the U.S. Constitution

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I'll praise Gonick's Cartoon History of the World series to everybody who will listen. As a history buff and a thoughtful comics fan, this series exists at a perfect intersection for me, and I think that anybody with even a passing interest in one or the other will find this illuminating.

Of course, the usual caveats apply. Nearly 300 years is a lot of ground to cover, and there are things that are left out that I wish had been included. What's more, the format encourages a certain amount of flippancy, which means that if you prefer your history dignified and dusty, this book won't appeal to you.

But the same style means that the book is incredibly successful. This is a highlight reel of history, which means you get a very zoomed out, highly contextual view of history. It's useful to understand how Charles V is simultaneously balancing the New World and the old, or how the Dutch revolt has ties affecting Indian politics. If you're looking for an overview of history, you aren't going to find much better or more accessible than this.

This post was crossposted from Goodreads. You can find the original at

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