Art History is an interesting study to the artist, to the appreciator of fine art, and to us all. Who hasn't visited the Metropolitan Museum in New York City or some other famous art museum when they had the opportunity?
A very well respected book on the subject is Janson's History of Art, now in its sixth edition. This fine book, now with over 800 color reproductions, is readable and a fine reference too.
Similar in scope is Art History by Stokstand, Cateforis, and Addiss, which probably does more justice to non-western art. It boasts over 700 color illustrations.
A shorter book aimed at the layman is The Annotated Mona Lisa, subtitled "A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern". At only a fraction the size of the other books, it certainly does not offer the same amount of information, but it is a very good survey.
If your city has an art museum, you have the opportunity to go beyond these books and see a selection of the works themselves. Museums open the subject of Art History to all of us, but these books can show us examples we'll never see in person.