Oh yes, this is dip in reading for at least a year! With 100 historical objects to read about, from the earliest surviving object made by human hands to the 100th object – a solar powered lamp and charger it would fascinate anyone interested in man’s history.
The BBC wanted a series of talks about historical objects that previous civilisations have left behind them, often accidentally, as prisms through which we can explore past worlds and the lives of the men and women who lived in them. They collaborated with the British Museum and the chosen range of objects is enormous. Those talks were broadcast on Radio 4 and are still available via the web where you will also find a list of the objects, access to the programmes and other related and relevant information. Each day shows a different object.
In the book Neil MacGregor shows us the significance of each object, how a stone pillar tells us about a great Indian emperor preaching tolerance to his people, how Spanish pieces of eight tell us about the beginning of a global currency, or how an early Victorian tea set tells us about the impact of empire.
Each immerses you the reader in a past civilisation accompanied by an exceptionally well informed guide.
This is truly a feast of information, well written, easy to assimilate and most memorable.
It is a family book too, not just for dad. I’m sure many a pupil will find the book a very good source of reference. It is a triumph of planning and dissemination.
Reviewed by Bob Beaney, social observer and guest contributor