Nicole's Reviews > Mysteries of History: The American Revolution

Mysteries of History by U.S. News and World Report
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Feb 03, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: first-reads

I received this magazine for free from Goodreads First Reads, and was duly impressed with the quality of the articles included in it. It’s not your typical magazine, there are no ads other than a couple for other special editions of these U.S. News collector’s editions. It reads like a history textbook, but is much more engaging than the ones I remember from History class. As a teacher and history buff, I would love to see these articles being used in the U.S. History classrooms. They pack a quick, intense punch that would engage students without being overwhelming.

The magazine is divided into 4 sections: Turning Points, Diplomacy & Discord, In the Trenches, and Myths & Legends. Each section contains articles under that theme, but also works to inform without the bias that many of us grew up with in our textbooks. There is also an emphasis on separating fact from fiction, as it states in the beginning, “One of the primary jobs of Revolutionary historians has been to be mythbusters.”

There is a saying that goes something like, “Those who ignore history are destined to repeat it” (Not quite right, but you get the idea!) Within these articles, I noticed many parallels to our society today, some of which we’ve learned from and improved, and some of which perhaps we should have paid more attention to the first time around. The veterans after the Revolutionary War frequently found their treatment to be sub-par. The Zenger trial enforced the idea of the freedom of the press, and the impartiality of a jury trial. Biological warfare was rumored to have to come into play, as there were rumors that the British deliberately released prisoners infected with smallpox with the expectation that they would infect others when they returned to their units.

I did find a few of the articles to start being a tiny bit repetitive towards the end, and there was a lot of jumping around from one time and place to another, but that is the nature of the beast when working with this format. There was a wealth of published authors, historians, and experts in the field who contributed to creating this piece, and I found it to be entertaining and educational. Definitely a keeper, which isn’t something I usually say about magazines…
Oh…and it didn’t hurt that it was printed on recycled paper, either!
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