Rating: 4 out of 5
I found this an enlightening history which covered many a topic I had some idea of but also many a topic I had heard very little about in the past. As such, I think this is a strong book that can provide a good grounding in many disciplines. Of course, there is a problem, however, and that’s the fact that more than fifteen years have passed since the release of this book means that some of the “immutable truths” as described herein have maybe changed. But, that’s less relevant than the 18th and 19th century information that gets passed on to the reader — so, in short, read this!
To go into a bit more depth, I found the interest that the author seemingly had in every discipline inspirational. There was not a question that wasn’t approached similarly thoughtfully — and that meant that both the topics I wanted to hear about as well as the topics I couldn’t really care about were both heard in the same depth. Similarly, the book raised many a question which I hadn’t thought about in the past, especially concerning the dinosaurs.
In the same category, a complaint should be made that the author repeated themselves rather often. At the same time, I found it slightly annoying in the book when some catchphrases came to mind as soon as the author moved towards a topic that he wanted to talk about. Yet, a few weeks after this has given me a bit more confidence in what was said — and there are some things that I still remember! So, it was in all probability a very good call.
I think it has some re-reading potential as well though I would very much also like to see an “update” to this book, as mentioned in my introduction, to bring this knowledge as up to date as possible.