The Mental Floss History of the World
This is a shout-out, really, with thanks to Erik Sass and Steve Wiegand, as my daughter is about to take her first Advanced Placement test tomorrow: AP World. Since I'm somewhat fanatical about history, knowledge, and information in general, it will surprise no one to find out that I have a houseful of history books. They're all excellent in their way (oh fine, maybe not all), but the people at Mental Floss go outside the realm of explanation to include tidbits that make history relevant and readable.
For instance, there is a section on fast food, something most teenagers know more than a little about. The passage is actually about the Russian occupation of Paris in 1814. Interesting, informative, and helps to bring the history home.
When did the Ottomans take over the Byzantine Empire? In Chapter 7, of course, titled, Renaissance Anyone? I'm very fond of the timelines included. Handy for impressing your friends. (1453, just in case you don't feel like looking it up.)
Good Luck to all the young men and women who will spend the morning tomorrow sweating over Europe's constant conflict, why Lenin wanted Trotsky and not Stalin, and how The Great Depression still bums us out today.