History as news

30th January 1998 at 00:00
THE HISTORY NEWS SERIES. Medicine. Philip Gates. EXPLORERS. Michael Johnstone. Walker Books Pounds 9.99 each.

These are two excellent additions to the impressive History News series. Not only is the content of both books fascinating, but it is presented in a most attractive form - as a series of newspaper articles.

The written narratives are racy and informative, and further information is presented as adverts or letters to the editor. An advert for leeches entitled "It sucks" (and one for urine jars entitled "A wee bottle") sets the tone firmly in the culture of the nine to 13-year-old readers.

This approach allows young readers to select items on an ad hoc basis, and is bound to increase their interest in history.

Medicine describes key discoveries and gives a clear impression of its development through time. Teachers of the SchoolsHistory Project will want to buy copies of this book to interest and help their less-able pupils at GCSE. If it were not so expensive, it could even form the textbook for a non-examination course at key stage 4.

Explorers, dealing with a much wider subject, has less of a unity, but still offers a series of heroic accounts of man's investigations of the world, over continents, across oceans and under the sea.

John D Clare is head of history at Greenfield Comprehensive School, County Durham

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