From the top 100 free list
A Short History of the World
There is an increasing realisation that our knowledge of world history-and how it all fits together-is far from perfect. A Short History of the World aims to fill the big gaps in our historical knowledge with a book that is easy to read and assumes little prior knowledge of past events.
The book does not aim to come up with groundbreaking new theories on why things occurred, but rather gives a broad overview of the generally accepted version of events so that non-historians will feel less ignorant when discussing the past.
To help readers put events, places and empires into context, the book includes 32 maps specially commissioned to accompany the text. The result is a book that is reassuringly epic in scope but refreshingly short in length. An excellent place to start to bring your historical knowledge up to scratch!
[#49 - it's been free before but I have yet to read it.]