Horrible Histories: The Wicked History of the World Hardcover – Sep 1 2004
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From School Library Journal
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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About the Author
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.
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This book ups the ante by being educating and encouraging an interest in history WITHOUT glorifying violence. In fact the book emphasizes that we all run the dangers of being like our wicked past, and should learn from our histories and be better people. Why lie to your children about the past? I do not condone violence, nor do I think children should be exposed to graphic elements too early but I do not think this book does either. Ok rant over on to the book itself.
THIS BOOK IS SUCH GREAT FUN!!! So many random facts about so many cultures and time periods and to lighten things up there are the terrible puns and comic drawings. These funny accents keep the book upbeat. I read it cover to cover before I could part with it to send to my relative and promptly more for myself and my friends. It is mostly accurate as well, which is surprising since most of even my high school history books are filled with errors. (History was one of my majors in college) A few of the facts are debated lore and there is a jewish/biblical bit (plagues) thrown in that may offend a the more obsessive atheists. I am biased, but i do believe that history is essential to an understanding of the way our world works today. Even our Internet lines follow traditional trade routes, colonialism shapes world trade and our governments systems are based on so much ancient knowledge. This book does not explain all that but it does encourage kids to get interested and want to learn. As any teacher knows (I've been a teachers aid for many years and a tutor for underprivileged children), you need that hook to turn young minds to educational subject matter. I never understood why adults seemed to take all the interesting bits out of every subject we learn in school. Kids are so naturally programed to want to learn, and yet it seems that the educational system deliberately sabotages the process.
I grew up with facts like these as i read the classics: Shakespeare, Tacitus and other classic histories, the great British romanticist poets, and fairy tales in their original form (reeeeeally gross) and I cant say it did me any harm to my moral development or any real trauma (the Disney movie of Sleeping Beauty, which I watched at a sleepover, scarred me for years however). I am a straight A student who hopes to head into the peace corps (if I'm lucky) or other service occupations if not. My favorite extra curricular activity is rehabilitating injured animals. I did however end up a bit of a nerd.