Monday, January 19, 2009

National Geographic Investigates: The Ancient Celts by Jen Brown - review

National Geographic Investigates: The Ancient Celts by Jen Brown

In beautiful photographs and well-written text, this entry in the very readable National Geographic Investigates series makes a thorough presentation of the most up-to-date knowledge about this ancient European culture, from its origins in 800 BC through 500 AD, and the echoes of Celtic traditions in our lives today.

Aerial photos, timelines, informative sidebars, and National Geographic's famous maps augment text that asks and answers interesting questions ("Why did the Celts make human sacrifices?" "What happened when the Romans came?"). Rigorous in its distinction between theory, supposition, and proven fact, the book features a minimum of illustration, in favor of photos of artifacts, sites, and physical remains - including close-ups of Celtic "bog people" showing details such as manicured fingernails and hairdos. Scale is scrupulously noted for all objects and structures in both English and metric units.

Numerous explanations of techniques and processes - both those of the Celts and those employed by archaeologists - inject an element of how-to, a canny addition that will hook the attention of the reader fascinated by how things work and how we figure things out.

Previous books about the Celts for this age group have concentrated on the Celtic presence in the British Isles, or have focused on Celtic myths or daily life. In sixty-plus pages, Ancient Celts is a balanced, scientific account that doesn't stint on the mummified remains. Sure to appeal to a broad range of learners.

No comments: