Thursday, March 7, 2013

Review: Faces From the Past, take two

Title: Faces From the Past 
Author: James M. Deem
Teen Review: Irina Kustovskaya
Rating 4.4/5 Stars
Read as ebook
Faces from the Past by James M. Deem is a book about forgotten people who now serve as windows into life centuries ago. It is a nonfiction work, focusing on archaeology, which includes a lot of history. If you are one who is into history (especially archaeology) then you will have a great time with this book.  It is a quick read and there are plenty of pictures to keep you interested.  

James Deem writes an impressive examination of ten people/burial sites of the past- a summary of their life, how they ended up in North America, how they died, and how they were found. They include immigrants, sailors, soldiers, ordinary people, etc., so there is plenty of variety.  The story discusses what made them become forgotten as well- before they were found, that is. What is also really fascinating is that there are special laboratories that actually take the skulls of the found people and “bring them back to life” by reconstructing the faces using clay! Archaeologists and historians get a look inside their lives using this technique, and it was pretty intriguing to read about this process and how it is done. That’s also what the pictures are- a lot of them are pictures of the facial reconstruction process. 

This was a very pleasant read- Deem definitely did a lot of research and information to back up everything that he discusses in the story. There is also a respectful tone for every individual and burial ground, making the book a lot more professional. For a read intended for 11-15 year olds, it actually had more of an adult tone, rather than something directed at preteens. Deem uses sharp, precise context and makes his points very well. It was not the longest story, so I really liked how Deem fit a plethora of information inside a small space. It was not one of those informational reads that you can read when you’re having trouble sleeping- it keeps your interest. The pictures, illustrations and diagrams add to the comprehensiveness of the book. It is very focused and well-spoken, and it is a much welcomed variety into a reading world dominated by teen dramas.

I would rate this book 4.4 out of 5 stars. Overall, it is an enjoyable read to anyone who is into history and archaeology, and it is fairly easy to comprehend. Faces from the Past uses a concise language and a respectful tone, adding to the overall feel very nicely. The only reason I did not give it all 5 stars was because archaeology is not my field- I am a history buff, but not in that area, so I guess it did not “reach” me as well as it could have. Overall, I would recommend it highly, especially to those who are interested in the subject! (And remember, there are pictures!)

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