National Geographic’s ‘History at a Glance’ is Epic and Awe Inspiring [REVIEW]

Pyramids at Giza

Visit the Pyramids at Giza and other great sites in National Geographic’s History at a Glance. (Photo by foundin_a_attic, Flickr)

Whether I’m watching an old movie, reading a fascinating biography or novel, or planning a trip to a place I’ve never visited before, I always like to delve a little deeper into the history behind an event, person, or place. I don’t always have the time to visit the library and haul out an encyclopedia to look up places like “Giza” (pictured above) and I can’t always rely on what the Internet has to say about a matter. So what’s a guy to do? That’s where National Geographic steps up to help a bro out. Their latest volume, History at a Glance, is the perfect reference book to keep on hand for concise armchair research. 

Mecca

Millions of Muslims make a pilgrimage to Mecca to pray at the Great Mosque before the cube-shaped Kaaba, their holiest shrine. (Photo by ♥With Luv♥, Flickr)

Packed with tons of amazing photographs, essays and timelines, it covers everything from prehistoric sites to modern events and links it all together as only Nat Geo can. Discover how mankind left behind the Ice Age and migrated to other places to establish various societies, and what those civilizations looked like. You’ll even find out how certain religions got started and why, including how monotheism was born. Ever wonder why Muslims make the trek to Mecca or if Mohammed ever encountered other famous religious leaders of his time? Find out in chapter three, titled “Faith and Power.”

Mesa Verde National Park

The Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde, Colorado is the largest ancestral Puebloan cliff dwelling. (Photo by Daniel, Flickr)

Meet impressive figures like William the Conqueror, Marco Polo, and Christopher Columbus, and find out how their lives changed the course of history the world over. Along the way you’ll also encounter entire groups of people, including the Moors, the Samurai, the Aztecs, and the Puebloans who built impressive stone structures in cliffs (as pictured above) in the Four Corners region where Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona meet. Then learn how advances like the advent of gunpowder, publishing, and the construction of great Gothic cathedrals propelled the world forward in time, changing the landscape of humanity.

WWI Soldiers

German soldiers in the trenches at Flanders during World War I. (Photo by Anders, Flickr)

As big ships were built and European civilizations sent explorers out beyond the known world, disparate worlds collided and societies rose and fell, including the Ottoman Empire. New nations were forged and ways of life were challenged. Accusations were thrown about during the Salem Witch Trials. Native Americans pitted colonizing powers against one another. Slavery expanded and brothers took up arms against one another in the great Civil War. And yet all those incidents would seem almost trivial when the entire world erupted in one massive conflict known as the Great War back in 1914. Learn how many died in the trenches and how it was that someone like Hitler rose in power, why the bombing of Pearl Harbor was so monumental, and how the Holocaust marred the face of mankind forevermore.

Polar bear near the North Pole

Polar bears are the only species designated for protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act due to global warming. The bears need their Arctic sea ice habitat and the algae it grows to hunt for seals. Shrinking sea ice, tracked in satellite data, has many consequences including sea level rise, thawed permafrost, and the release of methane gas, which all intensify additional warming. (Photo by Christopher Michel, Flickr)

But history didn’t stop with the end of World War II. It pressed on, not only toward other conflicts like the Korean War or South Africa’s heinous apartheid. No, time also gave birth to cultural revolutions that would change society as we now know it. Rock and roll gave birth to Elvis and the Beatles. A woman named Rosa Parks took a seat for civil rights. AIDS threatened populations worldwide and technological advances gave birth to Google and the smartphone. Even as we embraced advances, we also have had to face tragedies, like climate change, increasing natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, and the war on terror.

National Geographic's HISTORY AT A GLANCE

National Geographic

It is rather amazing how National Geographic managed to squeeze it all into one book, in a mere 416 pages, in fact. And yet they have, and the result is epic and awe inspiring. Even if you’re not really in the mood to do research, this is a book that will draw you in and entertain and inform you for hours on end, broadening your mind with enthralling facts and juicy bits of information you may not have considered otherwise. And as always, it is done as only Nat Geo can, with stunning, unforgettable photographs that will make you want to explore the world on your own. History at a Glance is the perfect launchpad for you and your family. It will inspire you and fuel the flames of your imagination with insatiable curiosity about the world as we know it. This volume is a must have!

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national-geographic-logoABOUT THE AUTHOR

National Geographic is one of the world’s leading nonfiction publishers, proudly supporting the work of scientists, explorers, photographers, and authors, as well as publishing a diverse list of books that celebrate the world and all that is in it.

National Geographic Books creates and distributes print and digital works that inspire, entertain, teach, and give readers access to a world of discovery and possibility on a wide range of nonfiction subjects from animals to travel, cartography to history, fun facts to moving stories.

A portion of all National Geographic proceeds is used to fund exploration, conservation, and education through ongoing contributions to the work of the National Geographic Society.

Visit National Geographic Books home on the Web at NationalGeographic.com/books, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.

Amy Briggs is a writer who specializes in books on space, animals, and weird facts about the world. She is the author of several Angry Birds books for National Geographic, including titles on the seasons and Star Wars.

Briggs lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband and daughter, who are very understanding about her Angry Birds addiction. Follow her on Twitter.

HISTORY AT A GLANCE
By National Geographic with a foreward by Amy Briggs
416 pp. National Geographic. $45.

TLC Book Tours Tour HostPurchase History at a Glance at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, National Geographic, and Powell’s.

History at a Glance is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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