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The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia Hardcover – 9 Sep 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 491 pages
  • Publisher: Kingfisher Books Ltd (9 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753457849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753457849
  • Product Dimensions: 27.7 x 22.6 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,080,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


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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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The good points: This is a beautiful book, colourful, well set out, easy to read and with lots of pictures. It's comprehensive, going right through from the first humans to the modern day. There are lots of nice touches, like the timeline running along the top of the pages and the ready reference section at the back of the book.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is really well written, and long book. It is a chronological order of history from the start of time through to today, with specific focus on continents, or events that are of note. This makes it easy to find what you are lookin for. It is well illustrated, and is easily readible for adults who want to start learning about history, as a reference, or kids probably from 8+.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9e1fdc78) out of 5 stars 35 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e0c6f6c) out of 5 stars A good beginning... 18 Mar. 2009
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I too homeschool in a classical mode. I originally bought this due to the reference in The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (Revised and Updated 10th Anniversary Edition). It is a useful introduction to unfamiliar ground. Non Western topics are often unfamiliar to me and I find the snippets given along with the timeline context enough of a start that I can take it from there. Would it be the only text I would use? Definitely not. However, it is a fleshed out outline of the topics and a good road map when outlining a course of study.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e0ce360) out of 5 stars The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia 28 July 2005
By Classical Home School Educator - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book for elementary through middle school children. Well organized, beautiful illustrations and condensed information so that everything you could possibly want to know about world history is covered. An added bonus is that there is a timeline across the top of many pages so that the reader can just select certain time periods to study. Excellent book for the independent learner and a great book for parents to read with their children.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e0d1840) out of 5 stars Excellent as a spine for a homeschool program, especially classical 4 Aug. 2010
By magnolia_fleece_farm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We are using the excellent, chronologically arranged Kingfisher Encyclopedia for my 12 yo for 7th through 9th grade as the key text, or spine. This child loves history and expressed a desire to study from the beginning of history to right now, including all the cultures. Another homeschooling mother whom I respect has raised 5 children who are successful in college on this text (including earlier editions).

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.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e0c6fb4) out of 5 stars Some obvious mistakes 2 Nov. 2006
By George - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Book contains some obvious mistakes. On page 113 it is stated that Rurik was the founder of Kiev, what is not true, because Kiev had been known since V century.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e0d1bac) out of 5 stars Conflicted on how to review this book 14 Dec. 2012
By S. Richmond - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia:
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.
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