Monday, October 12, 2009

Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland by Sally M. Walker

First Impressions of Written in Bone.

This second review comes after a much needed dentist visit which was a direct result of reading this book. Call it inspiration, if you will, to avoid a colonial style death.

Basically, everything from the first review stands. I still enjoyed this book immensely even on the second read. I was still extremely impressed with the overall quality of this book and very happy with the variety of stories and the depth of investigation into the lives of Colonial people.

What struck me more on the second reading (and truly I probably picked up on this issue because I’ve been reading SLJ’s Heavy Medal blog entries on A Season of Gifts) was that in the Walker did not include Native Americans in her exploration of Colonial bodies. The forward contains an explanation that they were not included because of respect for Native American customs and that it wasn’t an attempt to erase them from history. I found it to be a reasonable and respectful explanation.

I can’t help but compare the writing style to Almost Astronauts, simply because the tone was so different in both books. One senses that Walker is intrigued and obviously enthused for her subject, but there is none of the editorializing that was so prevalent in Almost Astronauts. It was much more of an expositional nature, the reader understands that Walker isn’t invested in a particular outcome or judgment, but is simply wanting to explore a subject to its furthest conclusion. Forensic Anthropology offers many insights, but Walker is quick to point out that it is not unfailing. There are many variables at play and the only conclusions Walker makes seem to be ones where she feels the evidence is conclusive enough to stand behind.

I loved the layout of this book – it was fabulous. From the font, to the colors, to the pictures/graphics to the captions, it was top notch. The writing was exciting and easy to understand. This is definitely one of my favorites of the year.

Book Source: Tayshas Review Copy


Jenn H. said...

As someone who was trained as a forensic anthropologist and loved playing with bones, I am really enjoying this book!

And you are right, it is exceptionally well-written. I think it is probably one of my favorites for this year, too.

joanna said...

I made my dentist appointment after reading this one, too! And I booktalked it to him. I'm pretty sure he went online and bought it.

One of my favorites for the year as well. Very readable and with great mysteries. I found the Native American explaination to be valuable as it will probably be the first time a young person (or us old people, too) comes across a disclaimer like that. It is important to note and acknowledge that you can't just dig up bones or sites even with the good intentions of science and history. A+ Book.