Profiles in American History Book Reviews

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School Library Journal, April 2009

On The Life and Times of Father Jacques Marquette and The Life and Times of Rosa Parks

Despite their slim size, these biographies offer a wealth of concise and well-organized information. Each one opens with a dramatic highlight or incident and then places the figure in historical context. Although there are numerous books about Marquette and Parks, these titles stand out because of their engaging writing style and the explanations they offer of the times in which the subjects lived. Each book is fair and balanced and includes viewpoints from those who opposed or disagreed with each person's accomplishments. The design is crisp and colorful without overwhelming the words on the page. Useful for reports and appealing enough to be read on their own.

Lane Education Service, December 2008

On Paul Revere

Jim Whiting tells the fascinating true story of Paul Revere in this non-fiction book. From religious persecution in France to Colonial Massachusetts, Whiting provides a broad, fascinating account of one of the Revolutionary War's most famous players. The Boston Tea Party, civil disobedience, secret organizations, and the power of media "spin" are just a few topics covered in this far-reaching tale of U.S. History. Throughout the book, side stories under the heading "For Your Information: FYI" describe in further detail persons and events of interest, such as John Hancock and the U.S.S. Constitution. Whiting does a wonderful job conveying many of the fascinating facts and figures surrounding the Revolutionary War. The sentence structure is concise and easy to read and the back of the book contains several fantastic tools for readers, such as a chronology, historical time-line, glossary, and a guide for further reading. Students will enjoy engaging tales of political protest and elaborate schemes engineered by the early Patriots who fought for independence. Parents should be aware that violence is mentioned throughout the book, although it is written about in a historically accurate context and is never gratuitous. I would enthusiastically recommend this book for older elementary school children and middle school students interested in exploring our rich U.S. History.

School Library Journal, November 2008

On The Life and Times of Clara Barton and The Life and Times of James Madison

The books are nicely formatted, with small color photographs and reproductions throughout. The writing is clear and informative with a minimal amount of fictionalization and an even treatment of the subjects' positive and negative traits. The pages are text rich (often 300 words or more) so they contain more information than many other biographies of the same length. Both books have detailed chapter notes. For libraries needing mid-length biographies on these two remarkable Americans, these books are good choices.

School Library Journal, July 2007

On The Life and Times of Betsy Ross and The Life and Times of Nathan Hale

Both books are written in a lively, fast-paced style. Readers will find the texts easy to follow and unencumbered by great detail. The books are illustrated with archival period paintings as well as site photographs. Ross identifies many of the artists whose work is shown, an informative detail that is often neglected. The boldly colored, graphic-laden page design, along with short paragraphs and chapters, will keep report writers moving through the informative texts.

School Library Journal, July 2007

On The Life and Times of John Hancock, The Life and Times of Susan B. Anthony, and The Life and Times of Thomas Jefferson

Serviceable introductions to the lives of three historical figures. Each book opens with a dramatic episode in the individual's life. For example, the opening chapter in the first book describes Hancock signing the Declaration of Independence; Susan B. Anthony begins with her arrest after illegally voting in an 1872 election. From there, the texts chronicle these people's lives, providing such highlights as Hancock's successful shipping business and stints as governor of Massachusetts; Anthony's work for the women's rights and temperance movements; and Jefferson's role in the Revolution and new government, and his conflicting approaches to slavery. Each book has FYI sections throughout that address such topics as Jefferson's relationship with Sally Hemings, the Susan B. Anthony coin, and Harvard University, which Hancock attended. The books are crisply designed, with clear photographs, drawings, and paintings. Anthony and Hancock are engaging and well organized and would make adequate additions to collections needing new material. Jefferson is a little more complex and some knowledge of such world events as the French Revolution would be helpful.

Booklist, October 2006

On The Life and Times of Eli Whitney

A selection of vintage photos and prints, plus side discussions and references to other print and online resources, kicks this entry in the Profiles in American History series a notch above.