Considered the innovator of "horizontal history," Genevieve Foster became frustrated when her two school-aged children complained about the boring presentation of history in their school textbooks. This frustration led to Foster's first book, George Washington's World (1941).
In her unique approach, Foster weaves a story of the world around her central character; rather than focusing exclusively on geo-political events, as most textbooks do, she includes stories of scientific discovery and invention, music, literature, art, and religion. Her keen intuition for stories will especially delight and amuse youthful readers.
In Augustus Caesar's World, Foster traces the seven major civilizations of Rome, Greece, Israel, Egypt, China, India, and Persia from 4500 B.C. to the time of Augustus Caesar in 44 B.C. and culminating in 14 A.D. Within this timeframe readers will learn not only the stories of Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, and Marc Antony, but also the historian Livy and how Virgil came to write the Aeneid. Foster will then take her readers all over the world to learn what was happening at this same time in China, Persia, India and so on.
Foster's detailed pen and ink drawings are fresh and appealing, and her illustrated timelines give a clear sense of chronology, enriching the engaging text.
About the Author:
Genevieve Foster began her career as a commercial artist, illustrator, and advertiser. In the late 1930s it occurred to Foster to write about history in a "horizontal" versus "vertical" fashion, i.e., that national histories should not be taught in isolation from one another. She said that the way history was traditionally taught was "about as dull and unsatisfying, as a play might be, if only one character appeared upon the stage, while the others faintly mumbled their lines in the wings, out of sight of the audience."
She was at the forefront of this new method of historical writing, which viewed history as a cross section of intertwined events and looked at a person in their worldwide historical context. In her books, she integrated global historical events into the telling of a person's life. Her purpose was to make historical figures "alive for children". During her career she wrote 19 nonfiction children's books. Foster traveled extensively and most of her books were translated into 12 languages and were distributed by the U.S. State Department.