The Young Oxford History of Britain and Ireland, Kenneth O. Morgan, general editor, published by Oxford University Press. Tel: 800-451-7556. $39.95 hardback, 1996.

The regal blue covers of The Young Oxford History of Britain and Ireland contain a wealth of stories for inquisitive young minds. The excursion begins in the Ice Age, with the thawing of the continent that would eventually produce one of the world’s most powerful nations. The authors then launch the reader on an incredible journey, which includes tales of powerful royalty, far-reaching British imperialism, harrowing world wars, and progressive technology.

The 415-page text, complemented by more than 500 colour illustrations, tracks the development of British culture through an intimate portrayal of the specific events and individuals characterizing its history. The five easily digestible chapters provide an in-depth look not only at essential events, such as the Battle of Hastings, but also a summary of each era’s general Zeitgeist and its place in a larger historical context. Following a thorough study of current social and political issues, the text concludes with an exciting peek at what the 21st century may offer.

In addition to the text and illustrations, the book’s appendix contains valuable charts of the English royal lineage, conveniently divided into Houses and eras. A list of Prime Ministers and Kings and Queens of Scotland is also provided for quick reference. The Young Oxford History of Britain and Ireland is a wonderful introduction for budding historians of any age.

Lisa Bratt