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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Greatest Discoveries: Explorations That Changed History

Greatest Discoveries:
Explorations That Changed History
TIME magazine article collection
121 pages

*** About the Book ***

This is a gorgeous, photo-filled book from TIME Magazine's Great Books series. It includes brief articles on a wide variety of discoveries - ranging from archaeological to astronomical and including everything in between - that have each changed the way we view history. Most of the stories are one to two pages long and all are accompanied by amazing photos.

*** Why I Read It ***

I used to read National Geographic magazines and loved all the knowledge I gleaned from them and the amazing photos they contained. When I saw this book on the magazine rack at the grocery store I immediately thought of those NatGeos that I loved. And since I was really in the mood for something completely different to read, I picked it up along with my groceries.

Note: My copy of this book is the paperback version and has a different cover than the one pictures here; I simply couldn't find any image that matched my copy.

*** My Thoughts ***

I found most of these essays to be fascinating. About half of the stories pertained to discoveries I was not familiar with at all. Some of these include the images of volcanic activity on one of Jupiter's moons, the recent feathered dinosaur discoveries in China, and the Anglo-Saxon burial site at Sutton Hoo (yes, I know, everyone else seems to know about these ... but I was clueless).

Many articles were on topics I knew something about (like the "hobbit" skeletons of Indonesia, the concept of "bog people", and Shackleton's Antarctic expedition) but even those contained info that was new to me. For example, did you know the latest theory explaining the sinking of the Titanic has to do with the poor quality metal used in the rivets? That was news to me.

My only complaint is that I would have liked more detail on many of these topics. Of course, the purpose of the book was simply to make the reader aware of these discoveries, not to delve into them in any detail. But for me, a few more pages on some of these topics would have made this perfect.

Still, it was exactly what I needed to read at that moment - something interesting and educational, fun and entertaining, and completely unrelated to any reading challenge or deadline. :)

*** Your Thoughts ***

Have you read this or any other book in the TIME Great Books series? If so, what do you like/dislike about them? Are you a fan of National Geographic Magazine like me?


Alyce said...

I haven't read any of the Time Great books, but I love National Geographic Magazines. I have stacks of them under my bed that I need to clean out. :) Usually once a week or so I take a National Geographic magazine and a Smithsonian magazine with me while I take a bubble bath (and my husband watches the kids). It's nice to get some reading in that is not book related, and also easy to finish quickly. Not to mention I love the educational aspect.

Jen - Devourer of Books said...

I have some of these National Geographic books, I really need to read them.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

I haven't read any of the book in the TIME Great Books; this does look like a good format for getting snippets on interesting topics.

Yes, I grew up w/National Geographic. Rows and rows of it on the bookshelves at my parents house. Their photography is exquisite.

Heather J. said...

Alyce - I am SO jealous of your weekly routine ... :)

Jen - Yes, do! They are really fascinating.

Dawn - My dad had tons of NatGeos - I love finding the wall-sized maps in them - I used to decorate my room w/ them.

Dreamybee said...

I haven't read any of the books, but I do like National Geographic. I haven't been a consistent reader-doctors' offices here and there-but, they seem to be one of the few "serious" magazines that have maintained their standards and not dumbed things down for their readers over the years.

Rebecca Reid said...

What a nice sounding book. I love National Geographic pictures and this sounds lovely. I love random facts about things too, and it sounds like fun, even though it doesn't give too many details.

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