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Peter Chronis
Author, Editor (anthology)
Hidden Lessons from History
In the quest to shape a favorable narrative of the past, we sometimes disregard important context, details, and facts. As is often the case, our picture of history can sometimes be blurred by half-truths—part myth, and part reality. In Hidden Lessons from History, author Peter Chronis brings to life a unique collection of well-researched narratives complemented by more than 50 beautiful photographs. This book rediscovers little-known historical facts, inconvenient truths, and heroes whose contributions were lost by time.
Reviews
Chronis uses rigorous research to give context to these spectacular photographs of notable locations throughout the world. He writes that the history of a famous site is as important as the image of the site itself. Exploring both natural wonders and man-made structures, Chronis provides background for buildings as familiar as the Eiffel Tower as well as more obscure edifices such as Puerto Rico’s Livingston Field.

Some descriptions in Chronis’s work are more relevant than others. Although the Memorial for Peace and Justice is a worthy subject, the text discusses civil rights in general rather than the specifics of the memorial. Similarly, the image of a boat near Costa Rica’s Playa Islita isn’t particularly enhanced by a note on the high life expectancy in that area. The photo of Thingvellir National Park conveys a sense of the majesty of the region that has little to do with Iceland boasting the longest-running legislative assembly in history. However, Chronis dives fearlessly into religious controversy, provocative and potentially contentious historical assertions, and the human cost of constructing magnificent structures. His beautiful shot of the White House is given important perspective when he observes that slave labor helped build it.

Bold photography choices contribute to the artistry of the work. The photo of Canada’s Mount Jimmy Simpson is in black and white, emphasizing the mirror image composition of the mountain on the lake, while Saint Barthélemy’s Anse Du Gouverneur is in color to highlight the brilliance of the sky coupled with the turquoise ocean in the cove. Chronis’s incisive visuals and condensed but fascinating text give readers food for thought as well as a visual feast. This is the epitome of a coffee-table book: lovely to glance at, rewarding to spend time wiith, and full of good conversation starters.

Takeaway: Readers who value both beauty and history will enjoy this polished book of landmark photographs given historical context.

Great for fans of Publication International’s World Landmarks, Parragon Books’ 100 Landmarks of the World.

Production grades
Cover: B-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: C
Marketing copy: A

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