Review Blog

Oct 29 2015

Historium by Richard Wilkinson and Joy Nelson

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Five Mile Press, 2015. ISBN 9781760068202
(Age: 8+) History, Museums, Civilisations. This large and imposing (and heavy) book directs the reader to use it like a museum, opening pages to the great civilisations of the world, using each section to gain an overview of what is held in various museums reflecting that group of people.
After a double page time line of the various great civilisations, the curators (cute!) present the civilasations of Africa beginning with a group of Stone Age tools from one million years ago. The book moves on to several civilisations within the last two thousand years leaving their mark with a glorious gold leaf rhinoceros and ivory mask, before settling into the Egyptian period, better known to the audience. Each page has wonderful illustrations drawn from original photographs taken in various museums around the world, and several paragraphs of information about the artifact, its date, its importance and where it was found and is now housed.
Included are sections on America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Oceania before a detailed index and list of museums where the artifacts can be seen.
I found this book fascinating to dip in and out of, but of necessity its broad scope makes some of the information only a taste, leaving me to search for more. Some civilisations are again only briefly dealt with, whereas others more well known are given a greater chunk of space. But as an introduction to the span of civilisations which have preceded us, many of which do not get much cover in books about ancient history, the book makes a wonderful appetiser, leading children to think about what they are looking at and hopefully want more.
Fran Knight

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