This book, one of the "Unsolved History" series, examines the mystery surrounding certain deaths in the centuries before forensic science could provide cluesspecifically, suspected murders passed off as accidents or natural deaths. Investigating such cold cases is difficult. Often records are incomplete or missing altogether, physical evidence is scanty or compromised, and popular opinion presses the historical detective to leave well enough alone. But sometimes a fresh look at history may offer clues for use in our own time. An examination of the circumstances surrounding Tutankhamen's untimely death is suggestive of foul play, but evidence is too threadbare to be conclusive. The demise of the two sons of Edward IV, the two Princes held in the Tower of London, illustrate the peril that can be associated with birth into positions of wealth and power. In these cases, it is argued that the princes may not have been murdered, but if they were, the person generally accepted as their murderer may not be guilty. Compelling reasons support other explanations, including the theory that they did not die at all but were smuggled away to live out their lives in secret. No one theory dismisses all others with certainty. Similar examinations are made of the deaths of playwright and poet, Christopher Marlowe, composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, explorer Meriwether Lewis, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Amelia Earhart. The book, beautifully illustrated with Egyptian, European, and American paintings and drawings and reprints of newspaper articles, closes with "Words for the Wise," an alphabetical list of names and places, a reference list, a bibliography, "Notes on Quotes" found in the chapters, and anindex. It would be a worthwhile addition to a variety of classes, including sociology and history. 2006, Marshall Cavendish, Ages 12 up.
Teen fiction author Blackwood creates a fun and informative title in the Unsolved History series here. Debatable Deaths portrays the suspected murders of some of the world's most famous leaders, artists, and explorers. Blackwood touches on the idea of conspiracy theory and states that history is full of conspiracies as well as murders disguised as accidents. The deaths of King Tut, Christopher Marlowe, Meriwether Lewis, Napoleon, and Amelia Earhart are questioned. Although these subjects may not hold appeal to the teen reader, surely some will. Blackwood refers to previous chapters, but if the reader wants only to read of one or two of his subjects, the information therein is easily understood. The back of the book contains a "Word to the Wise" section which essentially is a glossary of people and places mentioned within the pages of the book. It might have been helpful for these terms to have been bolded within the text, as the reader may not discover the extra information. There are also lists of fiction and Web sites regarding the subject matters, bibliographies, "Notes on Quotes", and indexes. Overall it is a solidly written series that will serve as a starting point for reading about the mysteries of history. Additional titles examine enigmatic events and perplexing people, among other subjects. (Unsolved History). VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, Marshall Cavendish, 72p.; Glossary. Index. Illus. Biblio. Source Notes. Further Reading., PLB . Ages 12 to 18.
Gr 4-8-Expecting just another set of flashy collections of tidbits about lingering mysteries of the past? These titles offer more substance than most. Each one begins with a volume-specific introduction and discusses seven controversial events or persons from the past. Most of the stories have been told before, although a few are relatively unknown. Deaths explores questions surrounding the demise of Tutankhamen, King Edward IV's young sons, Christopher Marlowe, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Meriwether Lewis, and others. Two-page supplements discuss doubts about the circumstances of the deaths of Sacagawea and of the discoverers of Tutankhamen's tomb. Some of the individuals described in People were connected to prominent personalities in history. They are known as "pretenders" as opposed to "imposters," terms explained in the introduction. (They truly believed they were Joan of Arc, the Grand Duchess Anastasia, and infamous Billy the Kid, etc., after these people were presumed to be dead.) Events examines great extinctions, especially of the dinosaurs, the lost colony of Roanoke, and others. Legends looks at Atlantis, Amazons, King Arthur, Robin Hood, and Pope Joan. Two lesser-known stories of the origin of El Dorado and of Welsh expeditions to North America complete this stimulating collection. Each volume has a significant glossary, a lengthy bibliography, and footnotes. These inviting titles have the look of leather-bound journals; a full-page illustration opening each chapter; reproductions, many in color; and a generously spaced format.-Ann G. Brouse, Steele Memorial Library, Elmira, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.