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The first item on the Better World Books 2016 Reading Challenge is […]
E. H. Gombrich
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My grandfather Ernst Gombrich did not usually write for children. Nor did he study history at university: art history was his subject. He was therefore delighted and astonished in almost equal degree that his very first book, Eine kurze Weltgeschichte fur junge Leser, should have endured so long and found so many friends all over the world.
He wrote it as a young man and in a considerable rush, and later considered that both these factors contributed to its long lived appeal. For this little book would never have been written at all were it not for the unusual circumstances that presented themselves in Vienna in 1935.
When the book came out, in 1936, it was very well received, reviewers assuming that my grandfather must be an experienced teacher. Though publication was stopped by the Nazisbecause they considered the outlook too pacifist it was reissued thirty years later. My grandfather added a new final chapter and was once again delighted by the books success, and the many translations that have followed.
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