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Friday, January 1, 2010

Lesser-Known Giants of the 20th Century (Non-Fiction)

Released April 2009

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

By middle school, kids throughout the nation usually face requirements of reading at least one biography or non-fiction offering and doing a report on the person/people they've read about. One of the problems I've seen both my children face is choosing a person that everyone else decides to pick. With Lesser-Known Giants of the 20th Century, teens learn about a number of people who impacted the world around them but don't get the same attention as the Helen Keller's or George Washington's of the world.

Some of the historical figures in this book were new to me, but others were not. Margaret Chase Smith I've heard about. Most likely because of my proximity to Maine and fact that I adore that state. Paul Winchell, the voice of Tigger (Winnie the Pooh) is another I knew, though I had no idea of the horrific upbringing he'd faced. Others like A.P. Gianni, son of Italian immigrants who went on to change the world of banking, were new to me. Or, Branch Rickey, a man who pushed for the first blacks to enter professional baseball leading to Jackie Robinson's joining the Dodgers.

Charles Aulini's book is packed with careful research and intriguing portraits of some lesser-known men and women. Others within the book include:

  • Moe Berg
  • Medgar Evers
  • Katherine Graham
  • Ignacy Jan Paderweski

Anyone who reads my reviews knows I'm an advocate for affordable books, especially in this economy. The $20 price tag on this trade-sized paperback is a little high. However, unlike many books that come my way, this book lacked common grammatical errors and obviously had been edited with precision. For that, I think the price is a little more justified.

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