Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Some time ago, I wrote a review about History Channel Magazine, a publication I have enjoyed immensely over the years as well as another known as Biography Magazine. I’m a history buff and love reading about American History as well as the history of other nations. So, when I received an invitation to check out a website created and run by Bob Frost, a contributing writer to both of the aforementioned magazines, I couldn’t resist and quickly headed over to HistoryAccess.com.
A historian, journalist, teacher and speaker, Bob Frost created HistoryAccess.com in hopes that the 21st Century society reconnects with the wisdom of the past by offering up readable and accurate information about the world’s history. I can see the point. As they say, without knowledge, history is doomed to repeat itself. With the boom of technology and instant information gratification, many of us are more concerned with retrieving today’s knowledge in a stay connected and current society. With HistoryAccess.com, people can use the current technology to take a look at the past and thus perhaps create a better future with the new knowledge they have taken away from the site.
The site contains over one hundred history and biography articles. I have only recently visited the site, but found myself instantly intrigued by the contents. Having watched When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story and what seems like eons ago completed a school project on alcoholism, I was very interested in A Man With Friends: Bill Wilson (Bill W.) by Bob Frost, an article that was printed in Biography Magazine in 2002. Not only was the article incredibly informative and the writing captivating, but the article included numerous links to other informative sites to expand the reader’s knowledge as well as other pertinent articles to be found on HistoryAccess.com. Additional resources were offered at the end of the article as well as a sidebar featuring a commentary on Alcoholics Anonymous by psychiatrist and author M. Scott Peck.
From there, I decided to take the advice of Frost and check out his article on Mao Zedong. I have long been interested in the history of China and had recently read The Good Earth and listened to the music of Mao’s Last Dancer and my interest in the history of this country has been rekindled. The article, Mao Zedong and the Agony of China, was written by Bob Frost for Biography Magazine in 2000 and updated in 2008. This article, like the previous one I read contained quite a bit of information about one of the most horrific, yet forward thinking leaders of China. It, too, contained a sidebar which chronicled some of Mao Zedong’s personal eccentricities. The article, as well as the sidebar, contained more informative links to expand my knowledge on the subject of Mao Zedong.
Now, I was addicted. I had to check out A Few Fine Pop Songs Immersed in History, a three-part article written specifically for the website that takes a look at popular songs and how they were inspired by events in our history. Then it was on to the Civil War section, which to my glee was huge! I read about The Sad Journey of Mary Lincoln and the authors of the Civil War. I can’t wait to read more in this section in the future. There is just so much here!
The site also contains a list of history and biographical readings with research tips, web resources for history and more, a section filled with question and answer interview sessions with notable people in history and another section of excerpts from books showing history writing at its best. There are tons of articles, biographies, interviews and more to read and the site just keeps on expanding! HistoryAccess.com is a terrific resource for students and a fun place for history buffs like myself to expand their knowledge of the world’s history. Kudos to Bob Frost for founding and running this site, allowing its users to peruse its contents with ease of use and expansion of interest. You can believe that I will be immersed in its contents for some time to come!