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The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: The Middle Ages: From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance (Second Revised Edition) (Vol. 2) (Story of the World) Paperback – April 16, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 226 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This may well be the best multi-age read aloud narrative of world history yet to have been written.” (Homeschooling in Japan)

About the Author

Susan Wise Bauer is the best-selling author of the Story of the World series, The History of the World series, The Well-Trained Mind, and The Well-Educated Mind, among other works. She lives in Virginia.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 5
  • Series: Story of the World (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: The Well-Trained Mind Press; 2 edition (April 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933339098
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933339092
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (226 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Our children (ages 7 & 9) are very much enjoying their study of the Middle Ages using Volume 2 of Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World: History for the Classical Child.
Because it is written very simply and aimed at children from 1st through 4th grade, I had been supplementing this book with Greenleaf's Guide to Famous Men of the Middle Ages. However, if we study each of the "Famous Men" (which is confined to Europe and surrounding areas) in addition to all the topics in Story of the World, Volume 2 (which includes history from Asia, Africa, the Americas and Australia)-- well, we'd NEVER finish! For that reason, we decided to lay aside the Greenleaf Guides until their middle school years.
Susan Wise Bauer writes in a very engaging manner for young students. She writes as though she were speaking directly to them. My children just love the stories in this book! My son would read it all up in a day or two if I would allow him to.
This is the main book we use as our history spine. We supplement it with many library books that correspond to the chapter of SOTW that we are studying. I would not recommend using this book as your ONLY source of history. It is not intended to be used as such, and it simply cannot meet all your history needs.
To be honest, I am somewhat disappointed in the many spelling errors I have found in this book. Perhaps it was rushed to press because so many homeschoolers were eagerly awaiting the sequel to Volume 1. My son delights in finding the errors, and together we correct them in the text.
All in all, if you are looking for an easy way to introduce world history to your child, I recommend using this book as your entry point. When you reach a chapter that particularly interests your child, find LOTS of library books about that topic.
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By A Customer on September 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
I bought this book as a follow up to Ancient Times, the first volume in the series. That book was great--but this one is better. It covers a very complicated time of history in a simple, straightforward way that helps students makes connections between events all over the world--not just in Europe, but in the Americas before colonialism, in Africa, in Asia, in Australia. The author also talks about great works of literature and even retells some of them to give readers a little more insight into the times. We loved the story of Beowulf told in rhyming couplets! For the first time I have a good grasp of the order of events leading from the MIddle Ages into the Renaissance and Reformation--and my children are EXCITED about the study of history. Highly recommended. Can't wait for Volume Three.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Susan Wise Bauer has done it again. This book is a quick read for adults, but it is packed with information. The target audience is young children, after all it is "The Story of the World" and it doesn't bore young children. Our children often would rather hear the next chapter than go play. And sometimes I'll catch my oldest reading it on her own.
The book does a good job of providing a balanced look at the major events during the Middle Ages. The book will focus on one area of the world, going over the major events, who was in charge, and who accomplished some of the important things, like discovering America. Then the book will move on to another part of the world for a couple chapters.
Susan Wise Bauer did an excellent job of weaving in various parts of history. For example in talking about a culture the book might go into a major myth or story of the group. The variety in pacing flows nicely from history, to what it might have been like to live at the time in a given culture, to some of these myths, and then back again. This helps keep the children interested.
The book is just right for young children. When they are young they don't need another 1000 pages of details most of us forget anyways. This book is written in such away that young children really want to listen, they want to know what happened, and then what will happen next. They can develop a love for history such that they'll go back and read in more detail about the parts of history they found interesting.
If you are looking for a good book for young children covering the major events of world history during the Middle Ages, this is the best I've found.
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So, on the one hand, this book fills a niche that is echoingly empty: the reasonably engaging history spine.

The bad news: If you read modern history research, you'll find yourself frequently arguing with this book. I get a real sense that Bauer's not one to stray from the hide-bound school of history. Yes, she's clearly done a lot of research - but only in the We've Thought This Way For Decades And We're Not Admitting We Could Be Wrong Now libraries. I also dislike that certain things are presented in such a way that younger children would take them as fact.

A minor example would be the "Ring around the rosy" bit - Bauer writes that "Many historians think that this nursery rhyme got its start in the days of the Black Death." That's BS - the theory is specious, but the information is presented as fact. A child, however, can't be expected to know this, much less catch the subtle CYA of "Many historians think..."

On the other hand, Bauer's work has these things going for it:

- It covers world history - not exhaustively, but enough to teach a child that the world is a big place that contains more than just Europe and America.
- It's a good reference work for teaching history - even if you just buy it for ideas on major points to cover with your kid and then never expose them to it, it's a friendlier way to approach history than an encyclopedia. And speaking of which...

We enjoyed the first volume of this series, but I'm personally having a lot of problems with the second. Unfortunately, there aren't many books that fall in this category. The van Loon The Story of Mankind, Original Edition (Yesterday's Classics) is enjoyable, but I don't feel it covers world history as well as this series has so far.
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