Apr 22, 2015

Wed Review (Larry Gonick - Cartoon History of the Universe book one From the Big Bang to Alexander the Great

A fascinating journey from the big bang, to the dinosaurs and evolution, to the beginnings of man and civilization; culminating in discussions of Greece.

This makes for a nice introduction to some of the subjects, and a nice reminder of others (depending on how much you already know, of course). I was thinking, "this would have been nice to read when I was 12" many times throughout the book because it covers a lot of the material I drudged through in public school middle school (age 12-15).

Much of history is conjecture, so its good to have multiple opinions on the subject matter. I think one criticism of this book is that Gonick seems confident in his opinion and either writes off other opinions who doesn't discuss them at all.

He's highly critical of religion (which I think is a good thing because it allows him to provide conjecture of the real-world basis of religion and religious/mythical [is there a difference?] stories). The old testament volume was interesting, as I contrasted it to my reading of Genesis, many of the historical conjecture as filtered through Gonick seems much more reasonable than the Bible's account.

I was bored by the Greek stories, which makes up that latter part of the book, if only because I am familiar with Greek history through my studies of its philosophy. I would have preferred more in depth discussion on early civilizations like Sumer.

Overall, a fun and enlightening read. I'm definitely going to continue the series as well as seek out the books Gonick recommends in his bibliography.

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