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Seven Wonders of Ancient Africa
Woods, Michael and Mary B.; Seven Wonders of Ancient Africa . Minneapolis: Twenty First Century Books , 2009. $32.95, ISBN 9780822575719 / 082257571X.

Note: Introduction -- The Great Sphinx -- Abu Simbel -- The Kush pyramids -- Great Zimbabwe -- The Kingdom of Aksum -- The Swahili coast -- Timbuktu and Mali -- Timeline -- Glossary -- Source notes.

This is a marvelous book, filled with magnificent pictures and fun facts. While the facts are fun, they are also significant. The authors have concocted a book which satisfies the eye and mind. It presents seven wonders of Africa in clear, concise, and accurate discussion. The wonders are: the Great Sphinx, Abu Simbel, the Kush Pyramids, the Kingdom of Aksums treasures, various sites on the Swahili coast, Great Zimbabwe, and Timbuktu. Each wonder has its own chapter. The authors are careful not to talk down to their audience. They present material in a straight forward manner, choosing their words carefully and competently. They explain ideas well, occasionally slipping in some humorous terms and having fun with the material. This does not lend itself to silliness or dwelling on the trivial. It does ease the presentation of serious facts. There is a great respect for African contributions to world history and to its own history which is part of it. There is a concern for presenting sub-Saharan history as part of African history in general, without separating Egypt from the rest of Africa. There is also a concern about giving Africans credit for their contributions. The authors do not condescend to the people of Africa, nor do they seek to give credit to Europeans for African accomplishments. The book is not preachy. The text is lively, fun to read, and accurate. It gives each of the wonders its due and then moves on. The photos are an aid to the text, striking a nice balance between the two. It is easy to understand the importance of the pyramids and the significance of the Swahili Coast trade. The book fosters a greater understanding and appreciation of the continent. The useful supplementary materials include: a timeline, glossary, source notes, bibliography, suggestions for further reading and websites, and an index. I recommend this book highly. It is encouraging to see a book for children so well-written, beautifully illustrated, and informative. Copyright 2009 Africa Access

Rating: R Grade: M / H Type: Book

Reviewed by: Frank A. Salamone. Iona College and University of Phoenix

Subject: Askum/ Egypt / Nubian/ Mali / Swahili / Zimbabwe / Architecture / History