With the decline of the Middle Ages and the fall of Constantinople due to war and disease, Europe saw a rise in towns, antiquity, humanism, and economic recovery in the 14th through 16th centuries. The Renaissance marked a tremendous art movement in Europe, ushering in the use of paint, perspective, portraits, and altar pieces. Printing and education became more accessible through an invention by Gutenberg, and reformers like Zwingli, Calvin, and Luther played a role after the Great Schism. Readers will get a sense of life in Europe through information about banking, trade, industry, architecture, science, medicine, astronomy, and alchemy. This look at Renaissance Europe fits beautifully in the timeline of the "History of the World" series, following the same style as the other books. The books in the series feature wide two-page spreads on each topic, laid out with vivid illustrations of both authentic pieces of work as well of maps and replicated items. There are also incredible diagrams that are labeled and often complete with captions to give more information. One of the most utile aspects of each page is a blackened sidebar with an overview of dates or other pertinent information. These are invaluable as a quick reference because the pages are rather busy, being so full of detail. Another really great feature can be found on the Contents/Introduction pages: a timeline that has a separate band for each group of peoples discussed in the set of years covered in the book. This serves as a great comparison for events happening simultaneously in each culture. Reviewer: K. Meghan Robertson
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.