This is not history for dummies. Writing with great sophistication and grace, Blainey weaves together the momentous events of the 20th century with insights into what life was like for common people and the effects of new technologies and medical advances. He is not content simply to narrate what happened; he also points out the often ironic consequences of historical events. Appropriately enough, he ends the narration with the resurgence of Islam and the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Blainey, an Australian historian who has taught at Harvard, might be faulted for being too Eurocentric, and yet it was Europe, along with the United States, that shaped the 20th century for good and ill. Although the book has no footnotes, Blainey includes selected resources for each chapter at the back.