In this latest addition to the How History Is Invented series, Roberts presents to readers the ultimate legendary-historical figure of Arthur. He examines the legend in relationship to actual historical works and talks about why some parts of the legend might be true, whereas others are fictional embellishments. The book is enhanced liberally with pictures, photographs, and other visual aids. He also cites passages from Tennyson's Idylls of the King and Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur. The only surprise readers will find is the author's comparison between the stories of Arthur and Star Trek novels. Although the reader might understand that Roberts is trying to point out that the stories of Arthur, like those in the Star Trek series, are a genre unto themselves with spin-offs and new stories built on minor characters, it might be a bit disconcerting. This is a decent although very basic book on how to do historical research into the King Arthur legend, but Roberts does not offer a blueprint for doing so. The book is not an in-depth look at Arthur, but it might serve as a starting point for some students. The bibliography could be a bit bettermany books cited are outdatedbut again not bad for a basic book. If libraries have other books in the series, add this one; if not, they should consider skipping it. Catherine M. Andronik's Quest for a King (Atheneum, 1989/VOYA December 1989) is a superior title named as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. There are other better books on Arthur out there, such as Malory's work itself or fictionalized accounts such as T. H. White's The Once and Future King (Collins, 1958, (c)1939), and even the University of Rochester Web site athttp://www.ub.rug.nl/camelot. Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Biblio. Source Notes. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P M J (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2001, Lerner, 104p, $23.93. Ages 12 to 15. Reviewer: Vicky Burkholder SOURCE: VOYA, August 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 3)
Gr 7-10-In weighing the legend of King Arthur against existing historical and archaeological evidence, Roberts also describes the evolution of the legendary figure through the centuries. Helpful but brief descriptions of period weapons and armor, summaries of various tales such as "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," and excerpts from related literature such as Alfred, Lord Tennyson's "Idylls of the King" broaden the book's usefulness. Unfortunately, the text flows unevenly and is sapped of life by repetitious summarization and generalization and minor errors in punctuation. Source notes at the end of the book are tied only to page numbers, making it necessary for students to read the whole page to determine what specific line or quote they refer to. There is value in Roberts's tenacious assertions of what is fact, fiction, or conjecture. However, if libraries own Kevin Crossley-Holland's The World of King Arthur and His Court (Dutton, 1999), Michael O'Neal's King Arthur (Greenhaven, 1992; o.p.), and Paul Doherty's King Arthur (Chelsea, 1987; o.p.), Roberts's title will be redundant.-Nancy Call, Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Aptos, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.