SCIENTISTS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD

These report-oriented lives of ten eminent early scientists combine what scanty biographical details have survived the centuries with clear statements of each subject’s contributions. Bowing to tradition, the arrangement is chronological, beginning with Pythagoras in the sixth century b.c., ending with al-Khwarizmi, who brought the zero into western mathematics in the ninth century a.d., and including among the usual suspects both the librarian Eratosthenes and Hypatia, a renowned Alexandrian scholar. The authors draw their information from a few secondary sources, to judge from the endnotes; still, as a supplement to encyclopedias or such Eurocentric collective biographies as Philip Cave’s Giants of Science (1959), this will find a place in library collections. (b&w reproductions, index, not seen, notes) (Biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7660-1111-9

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Enslow

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1998

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THE STORY OF BRITAIN

FROM THE NORMAN CONQUEST TO THE EUROPEAN UNION

Tricked out with a ribbon, foil highlights on the jacket and portrait galleries at each chapter’s head by Ireland’s leading illustrator, this handsome package offers British readers an orgy of self-congratulatory historical highlights. These are borne along on a tide of invented epithets (“ ‘Foreigners!’ spat Boudicca”), fictive sound bites (“Down with the Committee of Safety!”) and homiletic observations (“By beating Napoléon the British showed how strong they were when they worked together”). Aside from occasional stumbles like the slave trade or the Irish potato famine, Britain’s history—from the Magna Carta to the dissolution of the biggest empire “there had ever been”—unfolds as a steady trot toward ever-broader religious toleration, voting rights and personal freedom. American audiences will likely be surprised to see Mary Queen of Scots characterized as “one of the most famous of all monarchs,” and the Revolutionary War get scarcely more play than the Charge of the Light Brigade. It makes a grand tale, though, even when strict accuracy sometimes takes a back seat to truthiness. Includes timelines, lists of monarchs and an index but no source lists. (Nonfiction. 11-13)

 

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5122-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2010

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STRANGE NEW LAND

In The Young Oxford History of African Americans series, a thoroughly researched, thoughtfully written history starting with the first Africans on the continent to American blacks during the Revolution. The subtitle, ``African Americans 16171776,'' is misleading: Wood (for adults, Black Majority, 1974, etc.) begins around 1500, with the emergence of the Spanish slave trade. From there, he traces the role of Africans in the earliest settlements in North America and describes the different policies towards them under Spanish, French, Dutch, and British jurisdiction. The rest of the book—illustrated with black-and-white maps, reproductions, and photographs—deals with the early history of American slavery, specifically with the institutionalization of racism. At the same time, Wood looks at the culture and everyday life of slave communities, illustrating his narrative with a number of intriguing biographies. While his selection of facts and figures is illuminating throughout, what makes the work a particular pleasure are Wood's inspired discussions; he ably links facts and puts them into larger contexts for readers. An obscure chapter in American history, rendered vividly. (chronology, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-19-508700-3

Page Count: 125

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1995

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