Top positive review
Photos and Illustrations of National Geographic Quality!
July 9, 2017
We've gotten "National Geographic" magazine for many years, but it's just this year that I even heard of "National Geographic History." So I had to try it out.
I read quite a bit of history, and I'm enjoying this magazine. It is a sort of history-lite. Sometimes that's good, because you can just grab it and read a whole article when you only have a few minutes to spare. The downside, of course, is that the articles aren't in-depth. BUT, the language and concepts are not dumbed down and, as you'd expect from the National Geographic brand, the photos and illustrations are top of the line. And as N.G. History is large format (compared to regular National Geographic) there is a lot of space to show off great photos and detailed illustrations.
I love learning new stuff. For example, did you know that the reason Mary Wollstoncraft Godwin and her friends were stuck inside the house telling ghost stories was due to "bizarre weather in 1816"? The year before, the Mount Tambora volcano erupted in Indonesia, releasing "vast amounts [of] ash, rock, and sulfuric dust into the air.... Reports of odd weather came in from all quarters in 1816." The year 1816 became "the year without a summer" and without that volcano, there may have been no "Frankenstein!"
Do you like Egyptology? There's a great article on the discovery of Queen Ahhotep's Theban tomb in 1859. Read about the queen, including lovely photos of her sarcophagus and jewelry. I got a kick out of a sidebar concerning Napoleon III's wife, Empress Eugenie. The Ahhotep jewels were loaned to the Universal Exhibition in Paris, 1867. The Empress was so impressed that "she asked the viceroy of Egypt to give them to her. Alarmed, Auguste Mariette, the director of Egyptian antiquities and discoverer of Ahhotep's treasures, hurriedly sent them back to Cairo." He had good reason to fear. I remember reading about the English Queen Mary, who had a habit of visiting people's houses and admiring their knick-knacks. Protocol at the time required that the owner give her item she admired. She did it so often, people started hiding their objects d'art when they heard she was coming over.
I've received two issues so far, May/June and July/August 2017. Articles range from 2 pages to 16 ages, and cover a wide variety of topics. To give you an idea of the wide scope, here's the feature (longer) articles in the two issues:
... Altimara, Spanish cave paintings
... The Fearsome Queens of Thebes, who united Egypt
... War and Peace in Homer's "Iliad"
... Octavian's Rise to the Top, the Roman emperor
... A Cook's Tour, Captain James Cook's first voyage to Australia
... The Hieroglyphic Puzzle, cracking the code
... Agatha Christie in Mesopotamia, with her 2nd husband Max Mallowan
... The Truth About Archimedes, stories true or false?
... The Roman Underground, catacombs
... The Testimony of Notre-Dame de Paris, how it tells the story of France
... Amerigo Vespucci, his true and not-so-true tales of the new continent
And that doesn't include the shorter articles. Each magazine is 96 pages stuffed full of fascinating information. For me, this magazine is 5 stars. Just don't expect it to be scholarly instead of entertaining.