The ultimate question is: how did it all begin? Adults and children alike will find Big Bang a fascinating and beautifully rendered account of the evolution of our universe. Dennis Ashton (TES, November 7)
Disaster!Catastrophes that Shook the World
By Richard Platt
Illustrated by Richard Bonson
Dorling Kindersley Pounds 12.99
For those who have ever wondered what the oven where the Fire of London started looked like, or how people survived the sinking of the Titanic, this grim and gory accident-fest is just the ticket. Disaster! features Pompeii, the Black Death and the Hindenburg crash, cyclones, earthquakes, blizzards, dustbowls and tsunamis. Info-rich, enjoyably shocking, brill!
Atlas of the 20th Century
By Lisa Miles and Mandy Ross
Usborne Pounds 7.99
Twenty-six large, clear and informative maps, surrounded by smaller maps, photographs and drawings. On the Galli-polli Peninsula, you can see who was attacking whom, where they were doing it and why they failed.
The maps have a generous eclecticism, so readers will find out about the rise of China and Japan, the birth of Israel and the decolonisation of Africa, as well as follow themes such as car ownership and the role of women.
Fact boxes giving dates and biographies are set among chunky, demanding paragraphs of explicatory prose. The photographs, although sometimes familiar, tell a story - Neville Chamberlain fluttering his futile paper and Lenin's statue being winched into oblivion.
A glossary (aid to Zionism via capitalism, nuclear energy, perestroika and superpowers) completes a well-told tale of big wars following small wars that makes you hope the next century will be different. Tom Deveson (TES, July 4)
See book offer, page 16
Junior Chronicle of the 20th Century
Dorling Kindersley Pounds 20
Substantial reference book written as a compilation of newspaper accounts. The century is there in all its fullness, from the World Exhibition to the Dunblane massacre, attractively and durably packaged with easy-on-the-eye double-page spreads and a running timeline. A must for the junior library. Mark Williamson (TES, November 7)