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Sieges that Changed the World  
Multiple authors
Illustrated. varied pp.
Chelsea House Publications. US$30.00
ISBN: multiple

Sieges that Changed the World, a series of history books for young adults, frames six turning points in world history through the wartime events that caused them. These volumes will bring interest into the library or classroom. Students will find themselves absorbed the clear, straightforward details of the brave or unfortunate people whose actions defined these historic moments.

Each volume in this set offers the student a much needed yet often absent component of history education: maps. In addition to the other extraordinary graphic works contained in these books, the inclusion of maps in these works, in addition to clear writing and understandable narrative and explanations, will be greatly appreciated by both student and teacher. No matter how familiar one is already with an historical period, viewing a map invariably enriches the study of history.

book image The Alamo, by Tim McNeese

The siege at the Alamo is probably unsurpassed in United States military history as an event with the capability to stir the modern imagination. Texas' early history -- and indeed that of the United States and Mexico -- is violent and bloody. Rapid westward expansion across the frontier led to many conflicts along with much social upheaval. The author uses his considerable skill with a pen to present the Alamo in the context of the events and people of the day, giving the student a satisfying, informative, and absorbing narrative of the unforgettable days that make up the siege of the Alamo.

book image Constantinople, by Tim McNeese

In 325 A.D., the ancient city of Constantinople was a jewel in the crown of the Roman Empire and would remain thus for over 1100 years. This jewel of the East (later known as Istanbul), fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 after a brutal siege that laid waste to the city's defensive wall as much as it destroyed the hopes of the city's Christian population. Through author Tim McNeese's lucid prose, the reader can appreciate the critical turning points in history caused by this siege. Friction between East and West, Byzantine and Ottoman, Christian and Muslim are all portrayed fairly and clearly, and in a way that will appeal to the student of today.

book image Dien Bien Phu, by Richard Worth

Starting in May, 1953 during the critical waning days of French involvement in Indochina, author Richard Worth carefully takes the reader through the events of the following year that culminated in the siege and defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu. The Dien Bien Phu siege capped 100 years of tumultuous struggle between the French and the Vietnamese for dominance in Vietnam. As the United States was the next inheritor of the Vietnamese conflict, Americans' focus is often on the 20 years following the Dien Bien Phu siege. This book will help students understand the events that led up to the departure of the French from the region, and the United States entry into it.

book image Masada, by Tim McNeese

One of the most famous events in history was centered at the site of one of the most renowned set of archaeological ruins: Masada. Tim McNeese offers the reader a clear narrative and social and political history of the Jews and Romans and the contentions between them. Even readers with little previous knowledge of the Roman Empire in Judea will be able to understand the significance of this event in history. Even though this is history and not fiction, the ending will still be a surprise to some student. Suffice it to say that McNeese's rendering of the historic siege of Masada and its strange, haunting "victory" will satisfy all students of history.

book image Petersburg, by Bruce L. Brager

The longest siege of a city in American history, it was the siege of Petersburg, Virginia that finally broke the back of the Confederate Army and heralded the end of the Civil War. Beginning with movements of troops and materiel from Cold Harbor, Virginia to Petersburg, author Bruce L. Brager offers a day-by-day, sometimes even hour-by-hour narrative of the decisions of key players and the actions of their armies. A concise, fascinating treatment of a key moment in the Civil War, history students and Civil War buffs alike would not go amiss with this book open on the nightstand.

book image Stalingrad, by Tim McNeese

Once again author Tim McNeese offers the student a compelling account of one of history's world-changing sieges: the battle between the Germans and the Russians for control of Stalingrad during World War II. From his descriptions of desperate measures to provide nourishment as the residents of Stalingrad ran out of food to the brutal cold that tormented the German soldiers with the onset of the Russian winter, the student will be immediately engaged in this historic five-month battle that left hundreds of thousands dead and the city itself almost devoid of inhabitants. McNeese's account of this key World War II battle is personal, focusing on individuals and day-to-day action as much as to the broad sweep of history.

Sylvia Breau, for Notable Book Reviews
Notable Book Reviews received one or more copies of this book in exchange for this review.
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