Developed for use by middle and high school students, this multiple-volume set explores the European Renaissance and the Catholic and Protestant Reformations. Following the format of most other editions from this publisher, it includes a two-volume almanac, two volumes of biographies, and one volume of primary sources. The sixth volume is a paperback cumulative index. The Almanac contains historical data pertaining to the mid-1300s through the early 1600s, covering wars, monarchies, culture, science, social status, education, and many aspects of daily life. Amazing tidbits abound: Nostradamus, famous for his frighteningly accurate prophecies, also gained fame as a doctor who advocated foods rich in vitamin C and a low-fat diet. The Biographies set includes approximately fifty notable artists, religious leaders, monarchs, and scientists, including Leonardo da Vinci, Martin Luther, Savonarola, Lorenzo de Medici, and Galileo. Although a preface states that the biographies include not only famous historical figures but also "profiles of lesser-known people, such as Italian scholar Isotta Nogaria, the author of the first piece of feminist writing," one might question the exclusion of several famous Italian artists such as Botticelli, Fra Filippo Lippi, and the Pollaiuolo brothers. Excerpts from journals, essays, letters, and various other historical documents make up the Primary Sources volume. Background facts and introductory material are included and "What Happened Next" shows the effect the speakers' words had on their contemporary listeners. For example, because of Galileo's radical concept of the universe, he was put on trial by the church and his work "Dialogue" was placed on the Indexof Prohibited Books. The text is well written and precise in all volumes. Vocabulary is well defined, either by parentheses in the body of the article or by accompanying glossaries. Sidebars provide additional information and biographical material that supplement the text. Suggestions are given for research projects and activities, and dated Web sites are listed for further information. An affordable, quality reference for school and public libraries as a resource for reports and projects, this set provides a vivid, sometimes chilling glimpse of the people who actually lived in this brilliant and turbulent historical period. Index. Illus. Biblio. 2002, UXL-Cheryl McDonald, 218p. PLB Zachary
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-Complementary approaches to an important era in European history. The topically organized Almanac offers an ample overview describing the social, political, scientific, and religious environment that led to the Renaissance and Reformation. Separate chapters cover the Italian Renaissance, the Northern Renaissance, the development of monarchies, Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Reformation, scientific discoveries, the organization of society, women's lives, and aspects of daily living. Biographies profiles more than 50 artists, writers, humanists, kings, queens, and religious leaders in three- to five-page essays and sidebars. Primary Sources contains 18 excerpts from a wide range of works and authors including Niccoli Machiavelli's The Prince, Margaret of Navarre's Heptameron, Martin Luther's "The Ninety-Five Theses-," Ibn Khaldon's The Muqaddimah, Isotta Nogarola's "On the Equal or Unequal Sin of Eve and Adam," and Galileo Galilei's The Starry Messenger. The background information provided for each document and the discussion of its impact will help students appreciate each work's significance. Unfamiliar terms are defined in the generous margins of this volume. Time lines, informative sidebars, and average-quality, black-and-white reproductions are found throughout the set. The multivolume Renaissance (Grolier, 2002) is an alphabetically arranged, accessible encyclopedia with excellent color reproductions. The Saaris' Renaissance will be a top choice for student researchers, particularly those in need of primary-source materials.-Madeleine G. Wright, New Hampton School, NH Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.