Gr 6-10-These first titles in a proposed 10-volume set explore multiple aspects of the history of exploration. Each one stands on its own, but all the books share a common analytical view, looking beyond basic facts and dates to examine the events and conditions that spurred different journeys. The mixed motivations of politics and religion in Empire and the Cold War's effect on the race for the moon in Space are examples. Readers also see the strong, and not always positive, impact exploration had on science, culture, trade, and power. The breadth of each volume varies depending on the topic. America describes the Lewis and Clark expedition in detail, with much use of journals and quotes, while Ancients deals more with peoples than individuals, and necessarily relies largely on second-hand sources. Each title opens with a chapter highlighting a particularly vivid event from the period, such as the Apollo 13 mission, then moves to a more chronological progression. Writing is generally clear, with data and quotes smoothly woven into the narrative. The authors acknowledge the courage and leadership of individual explorers, but also note their errors and misconceptions. Clear black-and-white maps have a consistent look throughout the series. Inset boxes offer more detail on such relevant side topics as the physical properties of Arctic ice. Not intended as quick references, these useful titles look more closely at the complexity of exploration from a broad historical perspective.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.