Geoffrey Blainey’s Short History of the World, published by Ivan R. Dee in 2002, rapidly became a book of choice on the subject. Jacques Barzun called it “a unique achievement,” and William L. O’Neill described it as “a delightful read, gracefully written and filled with odd and interesting pieces of information as well as thoughtful comparisons than span both time and space.” Now Mr. Blainey has applied his narrative talents and his scholarly credentials to trace the history of a tempestuous century. A Short History of the Twentieth Century carries some of the excitement of the times as well as the power of unforeseen events. The theme that dominates much of the book is war and peace—a nervous peace—which gripped the attention of most people who lived through a large part of the century. Mr. Blainey’s talent for identifying the telling detail, the crucial event, the key personality makes for masterful storytelling, and his interest ranges wide over the fields of human activity; he is concerned not only with major transformations but also with the everyday experiences of people around the world. Taking the story from the dawn of a century ripe with promise, especially for Europeans, he shows how and why empires soon fell, igniting wars and revolutions that continued intermittently through the period; economic depressions that brought great powers to their knees; totalitarian governments that doled out misery to their citizens; a Middle East in turmoil; and a resurgent Islam. But he has more mundane concerns as well: How were children raised? Why did cities grow so large? How did new machines and technology influence a thousand activities? How did films, radio, and automobiles transform social life? A Short History of the Twentieth Century entertains like a novel, educates and informs like the best of teachers. With 10 maps.