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Gr 5-9- This engaging presentation of early exploration of the Americas offers both fact and speculation on who, when, and why voyagers came; how they traveled; and what evidence they left behind. Did Phoenicians flee their Greek conquerors in 146 BCE and land in New Hampshire, building America's mysterious "Stonehenge" and etching Phoenician letters into rocks? Are the ancient Irish beehive-shaped homes, scattered as ruins throughout New England, clues to the presence of persecuted Irish monks living among Native Americans more than 1000 years ago? Did the complexion and Welsh vocabulary of the reputedly "white" Mandan tribe of North Dakota result from assimilation of Prince Madoc's Welsh expedition in the 12th century? How did gold spearheads from West Africa become artifacts of the Olmec people of Central America? Citing legends and sagas, oral and written histories, and archaeological discoveries, Wulffson presents an intriguing array of possibilities that includes Romans, Vikings, Chinese, Irish, and Africans. Similar in content, format, documentation, and audience appeal, Russell Freedman's Who Was First? Discovering the Americas (Clarion, 2007) is more selective, factual, and colorful. Although well-captioned images and eye-catching sidebars enhance Wulffson's text, the brown and blue washed illustrations lack vibrancy. Nonetheless, the stories and unanswered questions about pre-Columbian voyagers will capture the imaginations of many readers, offer fascinating glimpses of different cultural groups, stimulate further research, and establish that Columbus's latecomer discovery fame can be attributed to the printing press, good publicity, and his royal backing.-GerryLarson, Durham School of the Arts, NC
Posted July 30, 2009
A really fabulous accounting of different theories on who discovered America. Columbus is the one we all know about, but many other scenarios exist that will cause the reader to reflect on other possibilities. Illustrations and pictures are very good and the overall layout of the book is easy to read and well-written. The reader will be stimualted and will enjoy this ride to discovery.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.