Books by Tim Robinson

WHICH WAY TO THE WILD WEST?  by Steve Sheinkin
Released: July 1, 2009

Similar in format and style to King George: What Was His Problem? and Two Miserable Presidents (both 2008), Sheinkin offers another fast-paced, irreverent look at American history. The author, a self-described reformed textbook writer, chronicles America's westward expansion, beginning with the Louisiana Purchase and ending with the Wounded Knee Massacre, which he refers to as the "last major fight between American soldiers and Native Americans," a troubling mischaracterization in an otherwise well-written historical overview (the consensus among historians is that the action at Wounded Knee was a massacre, not a battle as it has often been mislabeled in the past). An engaging storyteller, the author uses humor and little-known anecdotes to make such subjects as Manifest Destiny, the Mexican-American War, the Gold Rush and Custer's Last Stand entertaining for readers. His chatty, informal style can wear at times, but it will appeal to young readers turned off to history by stale textbooks. Robinson's cartoons complement the text. Appendices include extensive source and quotation notes. Inevitably superficial due to its scope, this is nonetheless an accessible and engaging historical overview. (Nonfiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2008

For middle-graders who find Joy Hakim's 11-volume A History of US just too daunting, historian Sheinkin offers a more digestible version of our country's story—opening with an account of the American Revolution from the despised but not-unreasonable Stamp Act to the dramatic race to Yorktown. Beneath breezy chapter subheads like "Revere and That Other Guy" and "Party at Fort Ti," the author expertly combines individual stories with sweeping looks at the larger picture—tucking in extracts from letters, memorable anecdotes, pithy characterizations ("…John Adams, well known lawyer, Patriot, and grump") and famous lines with a liberal hand. Except for a few cramped maps, Robinson's illustrations are all line-drawn cartoon portraits that echo the narrative's informality without adding much. Still, capped with a healthy "Whatever Happened To…" section, this animates the Revolution's times, events and people in a way that standard textbooks don't. A second volume on the Civil War, Two Miserable Presidents (ISBN: 978-1-59643-320-5-0), is also out. (index, adult-level source lists) (Nonfiction. 10-13) Read full book review >