All SHP shape

4th September 1998 at 01:00
School History Project. Discovering the Past for GCSE. Germany 1918-1945. By Greg Lacey and Keith Shephard Pounds 8.99. Teacher's Resource Book Pounds 19.99.

The USA Between the Wars 1919-1941. By Terry Fiehn, Rik Mills, Maggie Samuelson and Carol White Pounds 8.99. Teacher's Resource Book Pounds 15. 99.

Why use SHP? These titles provide the answer, even if they reinforce the view that SHP is for the more able.

All the distinguishing marks are there - clear structure of enquiry and case studies, an impressive range of illustrative techniques and a massive evidence base. True, source-driven history requires the ability to read and analyse and, in the case of photographic and similar material, to imagine and empathise. But SHP has a talent for selecting sources that unmask the human being behind the uniform and describe events as they happened. Eric Kempka, Hitler's chauffeur, writes chillingly of Rohm's arrest at the Hotel Hanselbauer, and the reconstruction of life in Northeim under Nazi control is based on thorough research.

In The USA Between the Wars, Hart Benton's mural "Entertainment" is worth a thousand words on the Twenties, with Dorothea Lange's photographs of sharecroppers displaying a different sort of passion in the Thirties.

In the Germany study, many students will be interested in the account of backstage technology at the Berlin Olympics, and only SHP would turn a biography of an Englishwoman who lived in Germany until 1945 into a useful revision tool.

Mark Williamson

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