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School Library Journal
These visually appealing titles are packed with excellent photographs and reproductions, interesting sidebars, and have a time line running along the bottom of every page. The men's lives are chronicled in four main sections that include historical context and information on the daily lives of those living in their time and place. Occasional spreads present brief material on related topics (e.g., the Roman army and religion, Communism and the Cultural Revolution, and the Age of Enlightenment). The books' relative brevity means that these biographies are necessarily cursory in their treatment. Mao is the most troubling in this regard; in addition to making no mention of the man's prolific poetry, facts such as the death of 38 million peasants as a result of the "Great Leap Forward" are glossed over, and the book ends with a confusing attempt to highlight Mao's positive contributions to China. Nonetheless, these titles will serve as useful, well-written introductions to the lives and worlds of these influential figures.
—Riva PollardCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.