by Tim Newark
Published in 1985
Thibault’s Score: 2/5
This book is a 1980s Middle School textbook about the barbarian kingdoms that preceded the fall of the Roman Empire. I didn’t really enjoy it for several reasons, although I did finish it.
Barbarians is a non-systematic overview of seemingly randomly selected groups. The descriptions of each groups are all cursory, and rely on historical stereotypes rather than facts. No words of caution are given regarding the authenticity of the sources.
The fact that this passes for a history textbook is a clear sign of the decaying educational system. I read several other Middle School history textbooks from the 19th century which I reviewed elsewhere on this blog, and the level of the discourse has significantly decayed.
Writing a book about “Huns, Arabs, Vikings, and Mongols” is a bit absurd as these groups are unrelated. When children aren’t presented with a clear narrative of history, it gnaws at their ability to create a logical sequence of events that they can understand.
What makes it more of a shame is that the writing style is decent. Sentences are clear, and there isn’t a lot of superfluous text.
The quality of the writing is good, but the content is bad.
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