Education: Capsule History

How long is 12,000 years? It took H. G. Wells more than 1,100 pages to cover the ground in briefest detail in his Outline. It is taking Arnold Toynbee at least six volumes in his Study. But this week, U.S. readers could get the 12,000 years of man's history in a capsule—a full History of the World (Harcourt, Brace; $3) all in 300 pages.

Author René Sédillot is a Parisian economist who began his project in 1941 "because I didn't want to write collaborationist articles, and yet didn't want my pen to turn rusty." His book won critics' applause in Paris, sold...

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