Customer Reviews: Harry Potter and History (Wiley Pop Culture and History Series)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars9
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on May 23, 2011
I enjoyed this book, because it gives you more about Harry's world by exploring the real history that the wizarding world is built on. There are interesting chapters about where bezoars, mandrakes, the Philosopher's Stone, or particular spells and potions came from, and how they were used by Muggles throughout history (and photos of real bezoars and other things that looked like they belonged in Prof. Snape's classroom). The book also uses history to tell you more about wizarding institutions like Hogwarts, the Ministry and Wizengamot, Gringotts, and pureblood elite families like the Malfoys, or groups like the werewolves.

I liked the timeline at the start of the book, comparing Muggle and wizarding history. It's well-written and an amusing read for Potter fans who want to know more about some of the characters and the wizarding world as a whole----sort of like a book version of the "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" theme park.
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on August 27, 2011
I enjoyed this book, with two caveats.

First, and Potter fans please forgive me for saying this, the book talks about the Potter world as if it were factually true. Now this approach is cute, but in a few places I found it hard to tell whether the book was telling me about real "Muggle" history or about something that happened in Rowling's imagination. In the worst cases the book draws sociological conclusions from things that didn't really happen. One shouldn't try to draw real-world conclusions from situations that are entirely imaginary.

Second, I really found the book to be disorganized. There are chapters and subheadings, to be sure, but the book read like a huge collection of random thoughts. Part of this feeling no doubt comes from the fact that the book is a collection of essays by many different authors. But there was little organization that I could see, and so, despite the wealth of interesting facts and observations, I found it difficult to make sense of the book as a whole. I think the book would be vastly improved by a clearer structure.

In short, I found the book to be okay, certainly readable, and probably of interest to many Potter fans. But I think the vast amount of material, with additional editing, could make a better book than it does.
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on January 6, 2015
This is a great read for any fan of both history and Harry Potter. The author does a great job of interweaving the Potterverse with actual history. Readers will not be able to help but learn. I would not give this book to anyone under 14 years of age due to some of the more violent truths of history they may not be ready for.
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on June 11, 2011
This book is great! It connects up stuff in the wizarding world with real-life things like witches, werewolves (at least stories about werewolves), boarding schools and even Nazis. I like history anyway and I love Harry Potter but even if you don't this is way less boring than you think.
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on September 1, 2011
Want students to see what teachers and professors really do? Hand out Anne Rupenstein's essay "Hermione Raised her Hand Again: Wizards writing histoy" just one of the many essays collected here. Better yet, just leaving it lying around where it might be found. It's that good.

Like episodes of PBS's History Detectives, the authors included in the collection apply the tools of scholarship to all the major and minor Potter books for a fun, witty, accurate and thoughtful deconstruction of our Muggle world. The best tools, critical thinking, determining the use and abuse of information sources primary and not so primary, even the fundamental question underlying all others, why question in the first place, are deftly handled, arming even middle school students for academic excellence.

What I liked most is that the discussion on every page gives the reader leave for their own inquiry. Precisely because every young scholar already has expertise on the subject, they have the upper hand to enjoy the tools of scholarship with ease as if it were magic.

P.S.: Don't overlook the contributors bios to find wizards amongst us! Makes me wish I was going back to school this Fall too.
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on January 22, 2012
If you are an OLD (65) Harry Potter freak like myself, this is an interesting book, well worth the price.
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on July 17, 2014
Excellent background on the HP series.
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on January 3, 2015
Good book !
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on January 25, 2014
This volume was not really what I expected. It was very hard to read. It does make a good addition to the Harry Potter collection.
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