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Harry Potter and History (Wiley Pop Culture and History Series) Paperback – May 1, 2011
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From the Back Cover
How did Muggles use mandrakes, bezoars, cauldrons, and love potions?
Would a woman have more rights as a witch or a Muggle?
How do the Malfoys compare to Muggle English aristocrats?
Who was the real Nicolas Flamel?
You'll find the answers and more inside this book, the first to explore the real history behind the world of Harry Potter. From Dementors to the Dark Mark, from Hogwarts to house-elves, Harry Potter and History takes a revealing look at the historical backdrop of J. K. Rowling's novels, with a timeline comparing the key events of the wizarding world to actual human history.
You'll learn how real British boarding schools compare to Hogwarts, where the Wizengamot and the Ministry of Magic came from, how the magical books and quills used by Harry and his friends were made, and the history of werewolves before Professor Lupin and Fenrir Greyback. You'll also discover the historical origins of the spells, charms, and lessons Hogwarts students learn, from Avada Kedavra to Levicorpus. This book takes every Harry Potter fan even deeper within the series, describing the rich historical background of the characters and their wizarding world.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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.Published on January 25, 2014 by Catherine Cedeno