Reviews for Germany

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 January

Gr 4-8--These three books are part of a series that stresses the modern relationships, goals, and problems of the European Union. At the front of each is a list of EU nations, a map of Europe indicating their locations, and a map of the pertinent country with major cities shown. An introduction by John Bruton, former EU president and Prime Minister of Ireland, explains the origins and history of the organization. Chapters begin with "Modern Issues" and a brief summary of the country's history and government, followed by chapters on economy, people and culture, and "Looking to the Future." In addition, there is a time line and a few suggestions for finding out more, including useful current websites. The up-to-date texts liken Italy's treatment of the "Roma" (Gypsies) to the U.S. treatment of the American Indian; the social standing of Italy's women is examined and condemned (45 percent of Italian women do not work); and Germany's major problem with guns and violence in schools is discussed. Muslims in Europe, global warming, nuclear power, and sex scandals are also touched on. The information is brief and limited by the length of the books, so none of the topics has much depth. Although not precisely captioned, the illustrations convey the character of each country. If these books are used for general middle school reports on a country, supplementary material will be needed. Their value lies in presenting a clear idea of what the EU is trying to accomplish and the problems facing its members, and in this they succeed very well.--Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA

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VOYA Reviews 2013 April
Indovino's introduction of the EU and its benefits to citizens clarifies for young readers the governmental and economic improvements to a major land mass.  Mapping informs the reader of country placement, but color choices are too close in tone for clear differentiation.  Choice of issues--dating systems, Roma, terrorism, nuclear power--moves quickly to the heart of international controversies.  The exception--"Italy," a poorly written, poorly edited volume--opens with an inane comment and relies on repetition and the nebulous terms "many" and "most." In a few volumes, the compression of history into short paragraphs confuses more than it enlightens, as with summaries on Italian suffrage and Czech Hussites.  Glossaries--entrepreneurial, fief, serf, propaganda, infrastructure, Marshall Plan--encourage in-depth reading and perception of themes.  Negative aspects and inconsistencies devalue the set.  Time lines contain inexplicable gaps, as with 1526-1914 in the Czech Republic.  Indexing is unusually limited for a reference set.  Some photos are blurry, shadowed, and ill-chosen--for example, handgun and tall buildings in Germany and Czech Republic, and a forbidding Mulderslot Castle and unidentified concentration camp in Netherlands, while Poland and Portugal depict more rounded views of age, gender, and culture.--Mary Ellen Snodgrass Index. Glossary. References. Biblio. Further reading. Sources. Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.