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A short history of the world - H. G. Wells - PDF ebook -Illustrated

A short history of the world - H. G. Wells  

A short history of the world - H. G. Wells
A short history of the world - H. G. Wells 

Excerpt
This short history of the world is meant to be read straightforwardly almost as a novel is read. It gives in the most general way an account of our present knowledge of history, shorn of elaborations and complications. 

It has been amply illustrated and everything has been done to make it vivid and clear. From it, the reader should be able to get that general view of history which is so necessary a framework for the study of a particular period or the history of a particular country.

It may be found useful as a preparatory excursion before the reading of the author's much fuller and more explicit Outline of History is undertaken. 

But its especial end is to meet the needs of the busy general reader, too driven to study the maps and time charts of that Outline in detail, who wishes to refresh and repair his faded or fragmentary conceptions of the great adventure of mankind. It is not an abstract or condensation of that former work. Within its aim, the Outline admits of no further condensation. This is a much more generalized History, planned

The story of our world is a story that is still very imperfectly known. A couple of hundred years ago men possessed the history of little more than the last three thousand years. 

What happened before that time was a matter of legend and speculation. Over a large part of the civilized world, it was believed and taught that the world had been created suddenly in 4004 B.C., though authorities differed as to whether this had occurred in the spring or autumn of that year. 

This fantastically precise misconception was based upon a too literal interpretation of the Hebrew Bible and upon rather arbitrary theological assumptions connected therewith. Such ideas have long since been abandoned by religious teachers, and it is universally recognized that the universe in which we live has to all appearances existed for an enormous period of time and possibly for endless time. 

Of course, there may be deception in these appearances, as a room may be made to seem endless by putting mirrors facing each other at either end. But that the universe in which we live has existed only for six or seven thousand years may be regarded as an altogether exploded idea. 

The earth, as everybody knows nowadays, is a spheroid, a sphere slightly compressed, orange fashion, with a diameter of nearly 8,000 miles. Its spherical shape has been known at least to a limited number of intelligent people for nearly 2.500 years, but before that time it was supposed to be flat, and various ideas which now seem fantastic were entertained about its relations to the sky and the stars and planets. 

We know now that it rotates upon its A Short History of the World axis (which is about 24 miles shorter than its equatorial diameter) every twenty-four hours, and that this is the cause of the alternations of day and night, that it circles about the sun in a slightly distorted and slowly variable oval path in a year. Its distance from the sun varies between ninety-one and a half million at its nearest and ninety-four and a half million miles.


Author: H. G. Wells
Publication date: 1922
Publisher: New York: Macmillan

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