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From the Creepy and True series , Vol. 2

Mild chills for fans of all things “creepy and delicious.”

The author of Mummies Exposed! (2019) digs up an array of spectral encounters, from the Flying Dutchman to personal brushes with the paranormal.

Though not quite able to abandon her own skepticism (“For the people who see them, ghosts are true. Very true”), Hollihan takes a respectful approach in this anecdotal ramble. Uncritically stirring in spirit photos, trailing a thick section of source notes, and brushing in broad historical contexts for each incident, her thematic chapters get underway with a list of no fewer than 193 Anglo-Saxon synonyms for ghosts or fairies. She then goes on to record apparitions, including the 15 “well-authenticated ghosts [that] infest” the U.S. Capitol; “vanishing hitchhiker[s]” met in Indiana and Somalia; “creepy and delicious” reports of spectral trains and ships; post-mortem appearances by Australia’s Ned Kelly and Alabama’s “Railroad Bill,” both seen as Robin Hood figures (the former White, the latter biracial Black/White); and angry or hungry ghosts in India, Korea, and Japan. She carefully acknowledges that different cultures regard their dead in different ways and links both modern Día de Muertos celebrations and La Llorona to Aztec beliefs and practices. The accounts are lively, and by closing with her own glimpse of two ghostly children, she makes common cause with readers eager to believe: “It’s all left me shaking my head in wonder.”

Mild chills for fans of all things “creepy and delicious.” (bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4679-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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An introduction to ancient Egypt and the Pharaohs buried in the Valley of the Kings. The authors begin with how archaeologist Howard Carter found the tomb of King Tut, then move back 3,000 years to the time of Thutmosis I, who built the first tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Finally they describe the building of the tomb of a later Pharaoh, Ramses II. The backward-forward narration is not always easy to follow, and the authors attribute emotions to the Pharaohs without citation. For example, “Thutmosis III was furious [with Hatshepsut]. He was especially annoyed that she planned to be buried in KV 20, the tomb of her father.” Since both these people lived 3,500 years ago, speculation on who was furious or annoyed should be used with extreme caution. And the tangled intrigue of Egyptian royalty is not easily sorted out in so brief a work. Throughout, though, there are spectacular photographs of ancient Egyptian artifacts, monuments, tomb paintings, jewels, and death masks that will appeal to young viewers. The photographs of the exposed mummies of Ramses II, King Tut, and Seti I are compelling. More useful for the hauntingly beautiful photos than the text. (brief bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7922-7223-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001

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Barnard’s brave effort to cram such an immense subject into 40 pages leads to some debatable claims. He opens with a sweeping history of Muslim expansion (“Early Muslims knew they had a lot of catching up to do to equal or surpass the great civilizations that preceded and surrounded them”) and continues generalizing throughout (“Until the twentieth century, most buildings in most cities owed much of their look to Islam”). Single-topic spreads cover the development of Arabic calligraphy and the mass production of paper, revolutions in mathematics and medicine, artistic and architectural motifs, astronomy and navigation, plus the importation of new foodstuffs, ideas (e.g., marching bands, hospitals) and technology to the West. The array of street scenes, portraits, maps, still-lifes and diagrams add visual appeal but sometimes fall into irrelevancy. Labored stylistic tics stale (the Caliph’s pigeon post was “the email of the day,” the astrolabe was “the GPS device of its day,” the translation of Classical texts was “the Human Genome Project of its day”). The author winds down with a discussion of how the dismissive attitude of Renaissance “Petrarchists” led to a general loss of appreciation for Muslim culture and scholarship, then finishes abruptly with a page of adult-level “Further Reading.” Enthusiastic, yes; judicious and well-organized, not so much. (Nonfiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-84072-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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