A panoramic view of history and prehistory on a loooong sheet, supplemented by select “breaking news” highlights.
The timeline stretches over 7 feet and is accordion-folded for ease of storage—though not so much for readability (notwithstanding a magnifier tucked into a front pocket), as many of the hundreds of tiny captions and images are cut off by creases. It begins with the Big Bang and then repeatedly branches until, by the end, 11 parallel tracks record select events and discoveries both in nature and in five broad human geo-cultural areas. Not only is the Eurocentric bias as visually blatant as it gets (guess which of the historical tracks is in the middle and, by a good margin, the widest from beginning to end), but ugly Eurocentric assumptions are well in evidence too: in the “Stone Ages” track, where hominids get lighter-skinned as they get closer to Homo sapiens; in “Sub-Saharan Africa,” where three of Forshaw’s five larger figures are whites; and in the portraits of Lenin, Stalin, and an unidentified Gorbachev that shoulder their way into the “North Africa and Middle East” track. The long sheet is easily detachable, but bound in behind are 29 “news” articles covering arbitrary highlights such as the opening of the Colosseum in Rome (with a picture of a panther carrying off a gladiator’s severed leg) and a pleasantly difficult multiple-choice quiz.
Hard to beat for scope but offering a slanted view at best. (Informational novelty. 10-13)