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The History Puzzle: How We Know What We Know about the Past

The History Puzzle: How We Know What We Know about the Past

by Susan Provost Beller

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Susan Provost Beller has written an intelligent and accessible book about archeology. From the prologue explaining the reassessment of Custer and the Battle of Little Bighorn to concluding thoughts on the World Trade Center, she uses her case histories well. Along the way—from the 1975 wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior and farther back in time to Martin's Hundred, the Great Wall of China, Mesa Verde, and more—Beller manages to explain discovery techniques old and new. She also illuminates the problems contemporary archeologists must face, including ecological concerns. The text is fairly dense but always readable, even exciting at times. The illustrations are good but they are, unfortunately, all uniformly printed in sepia, which doesn't always do justice to the images. That said, this should be a must buy for middle school libraries. Rarely has the puzzle of the past been as well stated for this age group. 2006, Twenty-First Century Books, Ages 10 up.
—Kathleen Karr
History comes alive in this new and interesting perspective "debunking the notion of history as fixed and unchanging." Chock full of gold-and-sepia-toned photos, the book entices the reader into the ever-changing world of history. Comparing it to a large jigsaw puzzle, the author turns historians into detectives, piecing together the facts that they have to make their telling as accurate as possible. Examining eyewitness accounts, the historian must always be aware that many witnesses can view the same event but see it differently. Initially a tribute to General Custer and his small band of soldiers, the Visitor Center at the Little Bighorn now offers a very different story of the battle, representing both sides of the conflict. What can account for the dramatic change over the years at the Visitor Center? A fire in 1983 profoundly changed the vegetation and allowed historians another opportunity to explore the battlefield. Many generations of school children have been taught that Columbus was the first European to come to what is now North America. In the 1960s, a Viking settlement from 1000 AD was uncovered in Newfoundland, predating Columbus by nearly five hundred years. From Homer's Troy to the Great Wall of China, from the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald to Herulaneum and Pompeii, historical myths and facts are examined. This book can be used as a starting point for lively discussion, debate, and research. There is also an informative section on "how to become a historian," which includes archaeologist, paleoanthropologists, and museum curators. It is a refreshing look at an old subject. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal withpushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2006, Lerner, 128p.; Index. Photos. Source Notes. Further Reading., PLB . Ages 11 to 15.
—Marian Rafal
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Beller looks at more than 20 historical sites or archaeological excavations, from the World Trade Center to Olduvai Gorge, from the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975 to Noah's Ark, in order to present the varying interpretations of history and how they have been colored by tradition, socioeconomic factors, and religious beliefs. Objectively written chapters are brief, leaving readers longing for more detail and more depth-and this may be the greatest strength of the book. Teachers can use this text to introduce social studies content in research formats. Frequent, well-placed sepia-toned photographs and period reproductions serve to enhance the text, and the source notes, further reading, and list of Web sites give students an ample list of resources for further study. A small quibble is the identification in a picture caption of the Easter Island hieroglyphics, called Rongorongo, as the language of the Etruscans-but this hardly mars the worth of the book as both an introduction to a fascinating field and as a curriculum guide.-Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.16(w) x 10.28(h) x 0.51(d)
1180L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 12 Years

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