Review Blog

Jul 01 2015

Hard Nuts of History: Wars and Battles by Tracey Turner

cover image

A & C Black, 2015. ISBN 9781472910943
(Age: Middle -Upper primary) Recommended. What did Mary Seacole and Florence Nightingale have in common?
The Boston Tea Party! What was it and what could a tea party possibly have to do with a war?
Which French military commander was banished to an island . . . twice, and why?
Pompey, Xerxes the Great, Trotsky and Siegfried Sassoon? Interesting names, but were they rampaging generals, the enemy or risk-taking spies? One was a poet as well! Hard nuts, all of them! And what about American Indians?
History! One imagines cumbersome, dusty volumes, smelling musty and old, with thick yellowed pages, but Tracy Turner has written a glossy, almost pocket-sized, fascinating little book that explains history in a light, breezy and highly engaging style, with witty images. Many of the momentous moments in history that defined nations and shaped populaces are condensed into this book. Courage, cunning, survival skills and the ruthlessness of these indisputably brave individuals (whose sensibility is at times questionable), is measured on 'HARDOMETERS', and each is given a Hard Nut rating, out of 10!
Fifty-three pages of pithy but absorbing descriptions of both men and women who led their armies into battle, fighting for what they believed in, surviving . . . or not, makes for a thoroughly compelling read for even the most reluctant student of history.
So you already KNOW all about wars and battles?
If you read this book and take the quiz at the back, you'll find out how much you REALLY know, and learn a lot of fascinating stuff on the journey. It has a Timeline, and a Glossary to explain what all those complex words mean.
I recommend Wars and Battles to children in the middle and upper primary school years, whose interest in history and the world around them is still developing.
J. Kerr-Smith

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