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WHO WAS FIRST? by Russell Freedman Kirkus Star


Discovering the Americas

by Russell Freedman

Age Range: 9 - 14

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-618-66391-0
Publisher: Clarion

The Americas have been “discovered” over and over again since the prehistoric past. Not only was Columbus not the first explorer to discover America, he was one of the last, and this presentation of the Americas as lands of immigrants from Stone Age hunters to European explorers is a testament to Freedman’s ability to make big subjects accessible to young readers. Drawing on research by scholars and “obsessed amateurs,” he tells of Columbus, Zheng He and the giant Chinese treasure ships, Leif Eriksson and the Vikings and the Aztecs, Incas, Mayas and other civilizations of the Americas. The prose is clear and packed with interesting details, and the color photographs, full-page maps and reproductions of engravings, lithographs and drawings add to the lively presentation. The chapter notes and bibliography are solid, emphasizing how new and fresh some discoveries are. This engaging work presents history as a story still being written; maybe the reader will be the next to find an ancient stone tool that “will be a hand reaching out of the past and taking ours.” (Nonfiction. 9-14)