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Grade 4-7–A gruesome look at history from prehistoric times through World War II. Bad puns and illustrated facts abound, with the text ranging from discussions of laws including the Ten Commandments, laws of ancient Kings such as Sennacherib and Ashurbanipal of Assyria, Hammurabi's code, and Roman and Greek law. The section on Rotten Rulers includes information on the Shang dynasty in China, Roman Emperor Claudius, Attila the Hun, Countess Elizabeth Bathory of Transylvania, and Josef Stalin, among others. Several pages are dedicated to ancient Rome, with another section on Beastly Barbarians. A spread is devoted to the rules of war over the ages. Human sacrifices are covered in all their gory detail. Slavery, as well as the poor working conditions of the lower classes during the Industrial Revolution, is examined. Wars and massacres make up the last chapter, with an illustrated fold-out section at the end of Vicious Villains. There is a European slant to the coverage, but the ancient Middle East, Egypt, Asia, and the Americas are touched upon. While the scope is necessarily cursory given the limited number of pages, and therefore not useful for reports, readers are likely to be fascinated, and there is enough here to whet their appetite for more research. A great choice for reluctant readers.–Nancy Silverrod, San Francisco Public Library
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TERRY DEARY has written more than thirty books in the Horrible Histories series, as well as over 140 other books, primarily for children and teens. He is a former actor, theatre director and Drama teacher. His books are sold in more than 33 languages all over the world.