The key to this inviting, highly browsable book's success is getting the reader to relate to ancient civilizations. By discussing technology like soap and cuneiform, pyramid building in Kush and Egypt, and the Olmec discovery of rubber, readers can gain a better understanding of what daily life was like instead of simply reading history as a series of battles. The authors take pains, as they focus on one civilization at a time, to offer context as to what else was happening in the world, so a discussion about the rise of ancient Greek society notes the decline of the Olmec empire as well as happenings in China, Japan, and Persia.
Written with an engaging and enthusiastic voice, Ancient History also takes the welcome step of delving into the methodology of historians, examining crucial questions like why historians don't know more about ancient Africa. The authors answer bluntly, discussing archeological issues, privileging written history over oral, but also racial biases. This kind of frankness goes a long way to instilling not just curiosity about history but also critical thinking regarding how and why we study history.
Takeaway: This inviting, spectacularly illustrated history text explores ancient civilizations, including those frequently ignored by most history texts.
Great for fans of: Allison Lassieur’s Ancient Mesopatamia, Honest History Magazine.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: B