5 of the best holiday books
A Little History of the World, Ernst Gombrich
£7, Kindle Store
Originally written for children in 1935, Gombrich's story charts the evolution of mankind from the Stone Age to the First World War - basically, the full span of human history – scattered with colourful descriptions of wars and conquests, grand works of art and the trials and tribulations of science. While it's not so much about dates and facts, there are vivid descriptions – Julius Caesar is described as "a thin-faced bald-man … whose weak and sickly body hid a shining intellect and a will of iron." All this is dusted with Gombrich's egalitarian, pacifist world view. But don't worry, it's adult enough to avoid being ribbed for reading a kid's book.