History in a nutshell

ALL ABOUT Ancient Greece By Anna Claybourne. THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON. By Pam Robson. THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION. By Peter Hepplewhite and Mairi Campbell. THE SECOND WORLD WAR. By Pam Robson. Hodder Children's Books pound;4.99 each

In 48 pages, these little books can only provide "at-a-glance" coverage of their subjects. Nonetheless, they blend varied pictures with lucid text to make useful introductions to key stage 2 history topics.

Ancient Greece is shown to nurture a people both military and cultured. War with Persia is portrayed beside drama and science in the shaping of a civilisation, as is the limited enjoyment of that civilisation by women and slaves.

The Great Fire is presented in a broad context. We learn about the combustible materials used to build the old city, the domestic and commercial need for fire and the limited availability of water. We meet eye-witnesses, including Pepys, who is seen burying a Parmesan cheese to save it from the flames.

The Industrial Revolution calls forth striking paintings of bridges, mines and furnaces. Famous faces like Arkwright and Brunel are placed next to anonymous factory workers and slum dwellers. The authors deal with the costs and benefits of this extraordinary process of change, balancing death and deprivation against economic and social developments. They touch on a number of effects, from the growth of trade unions and the spread of communications to the institution of a national census and the advent of weekend sport.

The Second World War is seen mainly from a British point of view. No historian could be confident of elucidating the causes and effects of this vast convulsion in four pages but the author makes a brave and passable attempt.

This series should lead inquisitive children to search out many more words and pictures.

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