I was looking forward to having my memories of school work refreshed with some maths and science formulae along with a host of other things that I'd forgotten over the years and there are certainly SOME parts of this book that live up to its promise. For instance, although I got Higher English and an `A' pass in my `O' Grade, I was never told about parts of speech like metonymy (which, on reflection, seems a bit strange).
As for English literature, I remain unconvinced that there are any hard and fast rules about what makes a great novel or novelist; the reader either likes it or not, and it is in literature that the final "product" can be improved by the writer's imagination.
However, imagination should have no place in the sciences but unfortunately, in spite of the author crediting "Bob" for "vetting the maths and science chapters", it isn't error-free. In fact, the maths and science chapters contain a LOT of mistakes.
The author states that the terms "metric" and "S.I." are equivalent or interchangeable. Metric weights and measures are similar to S.I. (Systeme International d'Unites), but the latter is the world's most commonly used system of measurement both in commerce and science. S.I. is a system of seven base units that can be multiplied or divided (in increments of ten) to yield other units that may be more appropriate in certain circumstances. It is possibly this use of the factor of ten that tends to cause confusion among many.
In her section discussing measurements, she says that "The pro-imperial way [of comparing the two systems] is that imperial units all used to mean something sensible, e.g. the foot was the length of a man's foot, the yard was the distance from his nose to the tip of his outstretched arm, etc." That would mean that, in days gone by, everyone (or every man) must have had feet exactly the same size - obviously preposterous.
This could be countered by stating that the original idea for determining the length of a metre was that it should be one ten-millionth of the distance between the North Pole and the equator at sea level (at least, surely, as sensible an idea as its imperial equivalent being the distance from a man's nose to the tip of his outstretched arm), but it has been refined over the years as our knowledge of science improves. Since 1983, it is defined as the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum in 1/ 299,792,458 of a second. *
The Systeme International is gradually being introduced to almost every country on Earth except the U.S.A., Liberia and Myanmar (!) *
To say that "0.25 and .25 are the same thing" is sloppy in the extreme. It may be acceptable for this to be used in speech between two people, but the zero should not be omitted when writing the figure.
The author writes: "milligrams - unless you're a pharmacist or something of that sort, you don't often need them. Something? Hmm. It's my personal opinion that it would do most people no harm to know the difference between large volumes of milligrams (running into several grams of certain drugs they may be taking each day) and very low doses of other drugs (sometimes measured in micrograms, or millionths of a gram). Ms. Taggart should remember that we ALL tend to be taking some drugs these days, even if only occasionally.
Her definition of a mole (in chemistry) is vague ("A mole contains the same number of particles as there are in 12g of carbon-12 atoms - that is, 6.022 x 10^23 particles.") My chemistry teacher said that a mole of a particular substance was its atomic or molecular weight expressed in grams, but maybe that's the same thing. It's certainly more easily remembered.
She really gets a bit confused the following when discussing synthesised elements: "Element 117, which will be called Ununseptium...", yet element 117 is shown on a table with the abbreviation "Uuo" and the name Ununoctium. The former explanation looks like the correct one.
When discussing the states of water, she describes steam as a gas instead of a vapour.
Since I haven't a clue about history, I can't say much about the history section in the book other than it concentrates a lot on English (as ever) monarchs and American presidents. That's probably doing it a disservice since it would be impossible to cram the work of a secondary school into one short book.
Likewise with geography, although I did notice that she has described Australia (a country) as a "continent". I think you'll find that Australia is part of the continent called, alternatively, Australasia or Oceania.
I haven't even got to the last 9% of the book - entitled "General Studies" (things like religions, wonders of the world and mythology, but I'd say that the more glaring errors should have been corrected even though she's had a fair stab at a very wide-ranging subject.