The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia Hardcover – 9 Sep 2004
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High-quality photographs depict subjects as diverse as China's Great Wall and Mayan stone carvings from the Yucat n Peninsula; these, along with maps and illustrations complement the meaty text. "Publishers Weekly" With 3,500 indexed references and 2,000 full-color illustrations The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia is a good school or home purchase and a great gift for students and anyone with a thirst for knowledge. "Children's Literature""
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Top Customer Reviews
The bad points: Some inaccuracies and unsupported statements that are deeply annoying. I'll quote a couple of examples to show what I mean.
On page 8, under a small picture of a female statue, it says "People first worshipped mother goddesses about 25000 years ago. They believed that, like the Earth, these goddesses gave life to all living things." That's completely unsupported. There aren't any written records from 25000 years ago, and all we have to go on is speculation. If it was just prefaced by "Some archaeologists think that..." I'd have been happier.
On page 79, under a picture showing a wheel-symbol, it says "In the Buddhist Wheel of Life, the eight main spokes represent the eight different states of being that Buddhists identify in the cycle of reincarnation of souls - only one of which is waking life"
That is wrong in SO many ways, it's unbelievable. First, the picture is of a Dharmachakra, or wheel of teaching, not the wheel of life. The Dharmachakra has 8 spokes representing the 8-fold noble path, not eight states of being. The wheel of life (which this isn't, remember?) has SIX sections representing six states of being in the cycle of REBIRTH. Buddhists do not believe in reincarnation and deny the concept of a soul. I don't know where the comment about 'waking life' came from.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book is excellent, well thought out, fairly comprehensive, and uses the layout popularized by the DK Eyewitness books. What is meant by spine is that we read the text and then supplement with other texts and activities for more depth. For example, our first units we call Ancient Civilisations; we will also use the DK Eyewitness Mesapotamia, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, as well as the Memoria Press' Famous Men of Greece, and ... of Rome (which have student workbooks and answer keys as well as myths.) And the appropriate Horrible Histories. And the DK Bible. Henty and Sutcliff historical novels, The Children's Homer, and good translations of Gilgamesh and the Aeneid. And a good visual dictionary of the ancient world.
What this book is not is comprehensive. Were it so, it would be in multiple volumes and cost a fortune! Much more than the cost of this single volume and supplementary texts, many of which may be bought used or borrowed from the library. I also would not use this book as a sole source for the early grades, except as a reference for the teacher and a source of illustrations.
We use the Kingfisher as part of our Story of the World History text.
Many of the reviews posted have mentioned that the book is very, very brief in each of the historical eras that it presents. I would agree that it is very limited, I don't know if I would have purchased it after using it for half the year. It seams that when i want to expand the reading on an era I prefer to reach for the borrowed library books, online resources or an actual encyclopedia than the kingfisher. The illustrations are good and it does give me ideas for online research but its just not something I am going to be using very much.