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Self Education: History Suggestions

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Next year, my dd8 will be studying an overview of world history. In preparation, I would like to read up on all that I've forgotten ;).


Do you have any suggestions for an overview? I had picked up a book over the summer and it was so dry!!! :glare: I'm hoping for something narrative and interesting. Maybe you've read a book on a specific time in history that you loved? I love history and am looking forward to your suggestions!


Thanks in advance,

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I hope nobody here laughs at me, but I've thoroughly enjoyed reading Story of the World: The Ancients by SWB. It's engaging, easy, and I finished it in one or two days (lots of distractions!). There are not many interesting narratives out there on history, unfortunately. I hear The History of Mankind by Van Loon is good, but dated. I've never read it. An Island Story (history of England) is good, also geared towards children but interesting for adults as well.

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For reference, the Kingfisher Illustrated History and the DK Visual History are great. I wish there were maps in the DK book.


For a fun, readable overview of world history, you can't beat A History of the World in Six Glasses. My ds is reading it on my recommendation. It ties together certain periods of history with the advent of a particular beverage and the significance of the beverage to that culture. Poor sentence--great book. Beer is the fertile crescent and Egypt, wine is Greece and Rome, strong spirits like Rum is the slave trade and the age of exploration, coffee is the Enlightenment, tea is the British Empire, and coca cola is the American century. Once you read this you can go back and learn more about each period.


The grown up version of SWB's Story of the World are starting to come out. History of the Ancient World has been out for a couple of years, and her book on the Medieval period is due out this fall.


The Teaching Company DVDs and audio lectures are another great resource for self education. Keep an eye out for sales or check your library system. For instance, my ds and I are enjoying the Western Literary Canon in Context, which is literature in the context of history. There are pure history series too, so just go poke around their site at http://www.teach12.com and your library catalog.

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Another fun/light-hearted approach would be Larry Gonick's Cartoon History series. There are six that pertain to history: of the Universe I, II, and III; of the Modern World I and II; and of the United States.


I had my older teen read these as a fun review after studying each period of history. They are intended for adults so do contain material that some would find questionable.




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