History & Mythology
American Heritage: The History of the United States For Young People
Byron Preiss Multimedia and Simon & Schuster Interactive have produced American Heritage: The History of the United States For Young People. This multimedia encyclopedia, divided into sections like Issues, Arts & Entertainment, and Presidents, uses text to present most of its information, sprucing it up occasionally with pictures, audio clips, and video. There’s also a Virtual Houses section, which presents typical American houses from different eras, including Victorian, log cabin, and 1950s suburb. Walk through these 3D creations and explore everything from Frigidaires to handmade quilts; each item includes text commentary about its social relevance. The History of the United States For Young People, like many CD-ROM reference tools, tends toward the superficial; you might not find everything you want, but you’ll enjoy the parts that you do browse. There’s nothing terribly “young” about the disc, except for the teenage hosts. The level of political correctness is sensitive, but admirably restrained; you are encouraged to make up your own mind, for example, about Columbus’ place in history. A little more multimedia would give this more reason to be on CD-ROM, and a little more solid information would improve its value as a reference tool, but as it is, The History of the United States For Young People is an entertaining and responsibly made introduction to the history of our country.
– November 1996