Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Book of the Ancient World (Angelico Press)

If you're a homeschooling mom (or dad) or one considering homeschooling, then you know there are a TON of curriculum options out there. Some are better than others, but it really boils down to what style of homeschooling you are going to employ. If you are taking the classical approach, like my wife and I intend to do, then you definitely know the name Dorothy Mills. Dorothy Mills wrote a six book series on ancient history. Two different publishers have taken the time to re-print these, Memoria Press and Angelico Press. Even though Memoria Press has student and teacher guides, you can purchase with them, they only have four of the six volumes. Personally, I prefer the Angelico Press editions after all and will be reviewing one volume every other month on my blog. Today, I am starting with The Book of the Ancient World.

The Book of the Ancient World begins with an Introduction that speaks of cave men and prehistoric times. It speaks of making stone tools and how some people don't believe history really started until man was able to keep written records. I'm honestly unsure how I felt about this introduction, but thankfully it was short and something you could skip over and not miss anything in the book. The contents of the rest of the book includes the Egyptians; the Assyrians and Babylonians; the Hebrews; the Hittites; the Persians; and the Phoenicians. Egypt by far gets the most attention as it spans over 50 pages. The rest of the ancient people, with the exception of Israel, only garnered about 20-25 pages.

It was hard to pick a favorite part in this book. The level of detail given to the Egyptians was fascinating. Ms. Mills didn't just discuss popular pharaohs and their pyramids, but she also covered their gods, their books and writings, what typical life consisted of in Egypt, and even how children lived in Egypt. She also did a truly great job addressing Israel. In this section, she included the Patriarchs, the three kings (Saul, David, and Solomon), and the Divided Kingdom. I am truly fascinated to see what level of detail she went into in her book, The People of Ancient Israel. I wish more information would have been included on places like Persia and Phoenicia, but I appreciate that there was additional reading suggestions at the end. The one that I wish there had been more of/any of was maps! Maps would have definitely elevated this book, and perhaps they were there in the original edition, but not in this reprint.

After reading through this book, I feel much more knowledgeable about the ancient world. Yes, some information may be a tad dated as we have made new finds regarding these ancient worlds, but that doesn't take away from the quality of this work or the information that Dorothy Mills compiled. And while the book won't make you a certified expert, it will provide you a great starting point on the subject. So if you are an adult looking for an introduction to the ancient world or a teacher/parent looking for a supplemental text to your history book, you will find this book to be extremely helpful. I imagine you could use it as the skeleton for your homeschool history, but you will definitely want to find some more resources to add meat to the bones.

This book was provided to me for free by Angelico Press in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!