Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on November 14, 2017
PROS: Easy-to-read, fairly engaging, a good mix of history and folk stories, hits most of the big stuff. I like that it's mostly text with relatively few pictures. We supplement with DK publishing histories, which are less thorough and less-well organized, but have great pictures, so that the kids get a good sense of the look of things as well.

CONS: Def. Western-centric (though less than some of its competitors), and def. focused more on wars/politicians/history of power, and not much at all on history of ideas, art, philosophy, etc. Due to the breadth of the survey, there's little material connecting what happens in one place and time to any other.

Western-centric: Bauer includes lots of material on other cultures, it's true, but most of this is through the lens of Western history. Which is fair. And she does a much better job than most other material for this age group. If you use the book as a backbone rather than a sole resource, it should mostly work out anyway. I found it necessary to also buy a) a more completist survey that I use to supplement or contextualize when random non-Western countries show up in SOTW and b) a full-on history of China. Because Bauer has the kids so engaged with text, I found sources that were comics for these things: 
Cartoon History of the Universe Volumes 1-7  Gonick's History of the Universe/Modern World series and Jin Lui's Understanding China through Comics series https://www.amazon.com/Foundations-Chinese-Civilization-Emperor-Understanding/dp/1611720273/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1510679206&sr=1-1&keywords=jing+liu&dpID=61JZ4KwqoaL&preST=_SX218_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

China has always been a tremendous power and has influenced much of history in that part of the world, so the terse coverage it receives in SOTW makes for some problems in giving children a more coherent idea of what happened almost anywhere East of Turkey.

History of Ideas: I would love to see the author in future editions make a list of resources at the end of each chapter... suggested art, music, important thinkers, scientists, etc. These are things you see in other courses of course, but as the history series tends to be the backbone for the classical education, it would simplify teaching greatly to find a short list of suggested related topics right in the text. I'm getting pretty good at balancing multiple history book (music, art, philosophy) on my desk at the same time, but I would have love to see these things more incorporated. Or, maybe a secondary textbook on history of ideas and culture? I appreciate the trickiness of organizing such a tremendous amount of information, so perhaps that would be the way to go.
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