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The Usborne Book of World History Hardcover – January, 2009

65 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Hardcover: 195 pages
  • Publisher: Usborne Pub Ltd; Combined edition (January 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0794524788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0794524784
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #686,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

261 of 263 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book on the recommendation of Jesse Wise and Susan Wise Bauer, authors of "The Well Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home." I am using it as the basic history text for my 1st and 2nd grader covering the beginnings of civilization all the way to the beginning of the 1900's.
The book is well organized into 1-2 page spreads that cover a brief time period or subject relating to a time period, which makes nice divisions for daily or weekly history lessons. For larger subject areas such as the Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations, there are several 2-page spreads covering more detailed areas of life and culture. The book begins with a 2-page spread called "Digging up History" then continues with early settlers, earliest cities, then major civilizations and empires. The page layouts are "Usbourne style," meaning there are many illustrations per page with captions about a paragraph long accompanying them. The illustrations are well done in that they give a good idea of what life was probably like during each time of history.
Each spread usually has a caption entitled "How We Know," which tells specific archeological evidences for the specific cultures. There are also small time charts on several spreads giving key dates for that specific culture. There are two large time charts in the book, the first covers First Civilizations to the Fall of Rome, the second continues on from there to 1914. Each chart covers 9 major geographical areas and gives a basic overview of what was happening in each.
This book is an excellent general overview. It is a good starting point, but for a more in-depth study needs to be supplemented with additional books that go into more detail.
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190 of 197 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on June 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I use this book to homeschool my daughter, and I've found it to be a good introduction to history for young children. It's not the only resource you will need, but it provides a good framework.
It does jump around a bit, because of the commitment to chronological presentation of *world* history. It's difficult to get the right mix on this, because one wants to see the continuous development of a particular region, but one also wants to see events in the greater context of World history. If the mix given in the book doesn't suit, though, it's possible to simply skip over parts and come back to them later. We use the book to provide a frame of reference, and a jumping off place for further study. In that respect, I think this book is better organized than The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia. The latter has far more text, but, in my opinion, it's too dense for young children.
Some reviewers have mentioned the nudity in the pictures. I'm not sure what to make of that. Presumably they don't allow their children to view works of art that contain nudity either, since the Usborne nudity is far less graphic than a classical or renaissance statue. I don't know what harm a child could suffer from viewing Michelangelo's David, or Botticelli's Birth of Venus, though. The pictures in the Usborne book are harmless.
Other reviewers have claimed that there are inaccuracies in the Usborne book, particularly in how the catholic church is portrayed. I've looked at the examples that they've provided, and don't find them convincing. For example, one mentions the conflict between Pope Gregory VII and the Emperor, Henry IV. The claim that the pope made Henry stand in the snow for three days is one that I've seen in adult history texts.
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87 of 89 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a comprehensive coverage of topics in world history in a chronological fashion. By no means is it a thorough textbook. Then again, this book is targeted to elementary age children. Some concern may be elicited by understandably protective parents over the factual graphic representation of violence or nudity in art or historical depiction of facts (i.e. heads cut off laying in a pile from Assyrian victors, or Grecians with visible pubic hair at the Olympics), but if handled appropriately most children can probably deal well with this, especially if they aren't overly exposed to television or electronic games. My children have commented on the pictures, but a simple explanation usually suffices and we move on.
I use this with my first, second and third graders for our homeschool. We chose this from the recommendation of "The Well Trained Mind" by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer. It is a very affordable option for a full four years of history (if you follow the three four-year cycles of history for classical education as suggested by The Well Trained Mind). Reading a two-page section one day allows for other books or items to be explored for the other two days of study that week.
Practical and affordable, this is a welcomed and captivating alternative to today's textbook approach to history.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I received this book and other books in the usborne history series as a young child. I was enthralled and entertained by them for years. As I progressed through high school, I was always far ahead of my other classmates in my knowledge of history, something which I attribute to the love of reading and learning that was instilled in me early by this and other Usborne books. Now that I have graduated from university I would reccomend this book to anyone, and will certainly purchase one for my own family.
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