978-0-7352-0064-7 / 9780735200647

On This Day in History


Publisher:Prentice Hall Press


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About the book:

This unusual historical roundup takes the significant events of the world one day at a time, starting with January 1 (a day on which Paul Revere was born in 1735; Betsy Ross was born in 1752; the U.S. Congress officially prohibited African slave trade in 1808; Brooklyn merged with Manhattan in 1898; and the colonies of Cyranaica, Tripoli, and Eezaan united to form Libya in 1935) and wending its way through the next 364 days to December 31, when Thomas Edison first demonstrated his electric incandescent light bulb to the public in 1879; and President Truman officially proclaimed an end to World War II in 1946.

The book is appealing for a variety of reasons. Because it doesn't take a chronological approach to history, each event stands out in its own illuminating limelight. You notice it and think about it more freshly, which lets you see it for the accomplishment it is rather than as just another occurrence in the progression of time. On This Day functions nicely as a reference book, in that the index will refer you to the appropriate page for any of more than 1,500 events, where you can discover not only what day of the year it took place but also get a full description of what happened and its context. This book charms most, however, as a browsing book; there's fascination in the juxtaposition of unrelated events, joined merely by happenstance on the same day, though years and worlds apart. Open the book randomly and you find October 14th, with the Battle of Hastings (1066) and the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1964 and to Elie Wiesel in 1986, while on the next page, October 15th, P.G. Wodehouse was born in 1881 and the first draft card was burned in 1965. You'll probably want to check your birthday for other notables who share your date, but after that you're free to riffle through the pages of history and have some fun. --Stephanie Gold

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