Martin provides a detailed and highly readable summary of the civilizations of India, China, Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia, whose histories are among some of the most fascinating in the world. The book begins with a time line for each ancient civilization, taking the reader up to 500 AD. Martin explains that these civilizations developed from farming villages built up in the great river valleys of Asia, such as the Indus River in Pakistan and the Yellow and Yangzi Rivers in China. Along the Indus River, the Aryans thrived. Initially the Yangshao culture and then the Longshan culture flourished along the Yellow River. Colorful information about everyday life for each of these cultures as well as detailed maps showing their locations are provided. The book describes the Eastern Zhou Period and King Zheng, who became the first sovereign empire of the powerful Chinese state of Qin. Confucius (551-449 BC) is also featured with information regarding his philosophies, including the importance of education, respect for ancestors, and a well-ordered society. The three kingdoms of Ancient Korea (1 AD)—Kogurya, Packche and Silla—are described through narrative, maps, and illustrations. This in-depth entry in the "History of the World" series will serve as an excellent introduction to students, either in the classroom or out, about these ancient and distant civilizations. Reviewer: Lynn O'Connell
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10–Similar in style to DK’s “Eyewitness Books,” this appealing series moves from prehistory through medieval Europe and onward to the global issues of today. Along the way, readers are introduced to many prevalent themes in the areas of religion, government, and economics, for example. Spreads discuss a subtopic each, such as the literature and arts of ancient Rome or Inca society and religion. Their effectiveness lies in the combination of lush illustrations, well-chosen, captioned photographs of contemporary artifacts, and reasoned, concise narratives. Succinct time lines border most pages, and effective introductions, the proper amount of white space, and clear dark print maintain organization and clarity. A superior choice.