Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday Talks: The Century

Happy Tuesday! Today I'm reviewing a book called, "The Century" by Peter Jennings and Todd Brewster. It's an excellent historical resource.

The Century covers everything from 1900 to 1999. This near 600 page book is laid out in chronological order and is filled with full page photographs of everything from the Wright Brothers first flight, to World War II, Elvis, the Space program, and everything in between.

What I love about this book is that, even though it wasn't written from a Christian perspective, you can tell the writers took great lengths to hide any political biases and simply laid out the facts. Another thing I love is that on every few pages there is a story written from the perspective of someone who lived through the events being discussed, with pictures! It's amazing to read about the life experiences of these people.

Also, in the back of the book there is a 100 book suggested reading list that covers everything that happened in the twentieth century.

Here is an excerpt from the inside cover:
What was it like to watch the Wright Brothers soar into the sky? To hear the first crackling voice aired on the radio? To cower in the ghastly trenches of Europe during World War I? To lose everything in the stock-market crash of 1929, or experience the birth of rock and roll? To watch the Berlin Wall divide East and West, and then, twenty-eight years later, to see it fall under the weight of tens of thousands seeking to taste freedom? For the past seven years, researchers, reporters, and producers for ABC News have searched the world's archives for the rarest and most stunning photographs and images, consulted eminent twentieth-century historians, and discovered and interviewed hundreds of eyewitnesses and participants in the significant moments of the most eventful one hundred years in human history.

The result is this spectacular book... The Century features a narrative of extraordinary quality that tracks major themes -- the impact of technologu, the soaring of the imagination, the ghastly violence, the joy of entertainment -- through chronological chapters recounting the signal moments of each era in the century. From "Seeds of Change: 1901-1914" to "Machine Dreams: 1990-1999," each chapter is threaded through with fascinating first-person accounts of the great events of the twentieth century, and illustrated with over five hundred color and black-and-white photographs (many never published before) reproduced in exquisite depth and clarity."

I've found this book very helpful as an aid to the history of the 20th century, however there are a few things I'd like to point out. First of all, this book was not written from a Christian perspective so spiritual matters are left out as much as possible. Also, be aware that is covers everything, including some things that are not so admirable, like the 1960's drug culture, the outbreak of AIDS, and the growth of feminism. So, keep that in mind.


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