A History of the World
Books with titles like these, as the author himself admits, are almost doomed to be a disappointment. This book is an exception. It clearly doesn't cover the history of the world in depth, but the areas it does choose to cover have a reasonable claim to being the formative moments of world history and to have influenced coming events in dramatic (often catastrophic, it has to be said) ways. The author has a journalist's eye for interesting characters and factoids, which makes the presentation gripping and well-paced where it could easily have dropped into a dull recitation of facts. I doubt many people will be at all expert in all the periods discussed, and so everyone will learn something new and interesting (as well as possibly having their existing understanding of events changed).
4/5. Finished 03 March 2013.
(Originally published on Goodreads.)