Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fall Reading 2014 Superstars of History: The Good, the Bad, and the Brainy


I enjoy Basher' s style of illustration. his characters have recognizable features so that we can identify them, but also look enough alike that they form an iconic group like Lego mini figures. The book covers the Ancient World, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Revolution and the Enlightenment, and the Modern Era. Famous figures from each time period are along a timeline so that it is easy compare where they fall in history. Then each individual is shown in a full-page illustration and a full-page infographic. The illustrations are full of symbols that relate to the character - knives in the back for Julius Caesar, the Mona Lisa behind DaVinci, etc. (I can imagine having a class of world history students analyzing each illustration and seeing how many of the elements they could identify.) The information on the facing page includes a brief biographical write-up,  a timeline of major dates and events, names of contemporary rivals or friends, a description of their legacy to the world, and a major question associated with them or their era. A glossary and index are also included.

This would be a wonderful coffee table book (not in the sense that it is a glossy artsy book). Family and friends could flip through it and learn interesting facts about the history celebrities that catch their fancy. It would be equally at home in a library or classroom for students to browse. Perhaps they will find someone that captures their imagination and makes them want to know more. At the very least they will come away from this book knowing that history is not dull and boring!

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley. It was published August 26, 2014. We have now added a copy to the library.

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