A New Book Of World History Has A Playlist To Go Along With It

A New Book Of World History Has A Playlist To Go Along With It

A new book by historian Simon Sebag Montefiore aims to tell the story of the world in 100 moments, from the origins of civilization to the present day. The book, titled “The World: A History in 100 Moments,” covers topics such as religion, politics, culture, war, science, and art and features illustrations, maps, and timelines. But Montefiore did not stop there. He also created a playlist of 100 songs to accompany his book, each corresponding to a historical moment. The playlist, which is available on Spotify and Apple Music, includes songs from different genres, languages, and regions, such as “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, “Imagine” by John Lennon, “La Bamba” by Ritchie Valens, “Gangnam Style” by Psy and “Waka Waka” by Shakira.

Montefiore said he wanted to use music to enhance the reader’s experience and show the diversity and richness of human culture.

“Music is one of the most powerful expressions of emotion and identity,” he said in an interview with NPR. “It can also be a source of inspiration, protest, and resistance.”

He added that he chose songs that were either directly related to the historical events he described or that captured the mood and spirit of the times. For example, he paired “We Were the Champions” by Queen with the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor with the Iranian Revolution in 1979, and “Born in the U.S.A.” by Bruce Springsteen with the Vietnam War.

Montefiore said he hopes his book and playlist will spark curiosity and interest among readers and listeners, especially young people who may need to become more familiar with some of the historical moments he selected. He also said he welcomes feedback and suggestions from his audience.

“This is not a definitive list of songs or moments,” he said. “It is a personal and subjective choice. I invite everyone to make their playlists and share them with me.”

The book “The World: A History in 100 Moments” by Simon Sebag Montefiore is now from Penguin Random House.

However, the book and playlist have controversy. Some critics have accused Montefiore of being Eurocentric, selective, and biased in his choice of moments and songs. For instance, some have questioned why he included the Brexit referendum in 2016 but not the Arab Spring in 2011 or why he chose “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey for the election of Obama in 2008 but not “Yes We Can” by Will.i.am.

Others have praised Montefiore for his creativity, originality, and accessibility. They have argued that his book and playlist are not meant to be comprehensive or authoritative but rather an invitation to explore and enjoy the diversity and complexity of world history through music.

In response to the criticism, Montefiore said he was aware of the limitations and challenges of his project. He said he tried to balance different perspectives and regions but acknowledged that his background and preferences inevitably influenced his selection. He hoped his book and playlist would stimulate debate and discussion among readers and listeners rather than silence or dismiss them.

“I don’t claim to have the final word on world history or music,” he said. “I hope to share my passion and enthusiasm for both with as many people as possible.”

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