After a tremendously slow May (one book), I begin June with high hopes. My studying for Jeopardy is going well and I will definitely increase my pace now that I am done teaching for a few months. As part of both my game show training and my reading challenge, I chose History of the Twentieth Century by the eminent British historian Martin Gilbert for my thirty-second book. As the title suggests, this book aims to chronicle the major events that occurred between 1900 and 2000. I read the concise edition, which is Gilbert’s abridgement of his original three-volume history. The single-volume version clocks in at just under 700 pages, entirely reasonable for a century of history. I enjoyed this book but felt that it suffered from its brevity. The breadth of social, political, economic, and cultural events discussed prevents any issues being discussed in much depth. The result is a good read for the casual history buff (or person looking to refresh their memories before a Jeopardy audition). There have already been several questions on Jeopardy in the past few days to which this book provided me the answer. If you want a deeper analysis of the twentieth century, however, look for the three-volume edition. Gilbert is an excellent writer but the abridgement seems to have led to a few poorly constructed segments. None was too glaring, but together they were enough to make me question the book’s editorial staff. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an interesting but not exhaustive look at twentieth century history.
I am continuing my Jeopardy preparations by memorizing all of the countries in the world and their capitals (I have A through R down), and reading An Incomplete Education. My audition is June 13th, after which I will lift my moratorium on novels and get my challenge back on track. I will post my summer reading list in the next few days. Stay tuned!
The Current Count:
32 Read, 68 To Go