Understanding World History Reviews

The Arab Spring Uprisings: ISBN 978-1-60152-630-4 eBook: 978-1-60152-631-1
Booklist, July 17, 2014

This timely book chronicles events of the Arab Spring, a wave of demonstrations and protests against traditional Arab regimes between 2010 and 2013, some ending in regime change, some in political reforms, and some put down or still festering. Like other titles in the Understanding World History series, this survey begins with a description of “defining characteristics” of the period and some background. Three chapters focus on particular countries: Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. A conclusion offers “legacies,” which are difficult to enumerate from an unfinished movement. The author’s explanations are clear; his sources are mostly American or English, often news articles from the period, but also include material from Al Jazeera and other Arab sites. One sidebar repeats an often-used quote from the Koran about beating one’s wife, though it doesn’t acknowledge the complexity of the Muslim teachings (or any religious teachings) and might be seen as supporting stereotypes. Otherwise the treatment of religion seems fair and respectful. Helpful back matter adds value for student research.
— Kathleen Isaacs

The War in Afghanistan: ISBN 978-1-60152-632-8 eBook: 978-1-60152-633-5
The Arab Spring Uprisings: ISBN 978-1-60152-630-4 eBook: 978-1-60152-631-1
School Library Journal, May 2014

Gr 7 Up— These two utilitarian volumes give clear and detailed explanations of their subjects. Afghanistan is organized chronologically and covers events from September 11, 2001, to the end of 2013, while Arab Spring delves into the historical background of politics in Northern Africa and the Middle East, then examines the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, touching on relevant events in surrounding nations as well. Though these books are written from an American perspective, the authors strive to offer a balanced, accurate portrayal of events. The writing style in both titles is straightforward, if somewhat dry. While these books will be most useful to students writing reports, they provide valuable coverage of recent events and will fill a gap in many collections.
—Misti Tidman, Licking County Library, Newark, OH