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Faces from the Past

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*Starred Review* People live and people die, but once in a while they get to come back to shed light on their origins and societies. Deem, author of the Sibert Honour Book Bodies from the Ice (2008), introduces some of those people, from as far back as 10,000 years ago, buried and rediscovered. Now, their bodies and burial materials are making both historical and scientific contributions, thanks to the archaeologists, anthropologists, and forensic artists examining them. Beginning with the discovery of Spirit Cave Man, who was thought to be a thousand years old and turned out to be 10 times older, and ending with an African American Civil War soldier whose body was nabbed by grave robbers, this describes how the bodies were found, the stories surrounding them, and the science that elucidated them. In fact, this is as much a book about scientific techniques—especially that of facial reconstruction—as it is about history. Whether he is describing how a French sailor under the command of La Salle died in a shipwreck or the way twentieth-century inmates of an almshouse were treated, Deem’s writing is riveting and his research deep. Illustrated with copious photographs and historical artefacts, the design’s only small bump is the way the sidebars sometimes interrupt the flow of the text. Otherwise, a top-notch effort with solid back matter, too. Grades 6-10. --Ilene Cooper

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