Instead of making a final decision about paint shades, and getting on with the decorating that I started planning a couple of weeks ago, I have been procrastinating. I decided that sorting out our loft/storage would be a much better use of my time. There’s nothing like having to make decisions to make me find something else I need to do! So, I’ve been hauling boxes and piles of ‘stuff’ out of our small loft space and sorting it out. My reasoning is that I can clear some things out to make room for more things and so free up some cupboard and shelf space in the rooms. Of course, sorting out means looking through everything carefully – checking what’s in each box.
I was looking through a box of mainly children’s books and was thrilled to find an old school book of mine which I thought had got lost! It was a book we used when I was 7, and probably formed our main Geography lessons. Looking at it now, it is quite amazing/shocking/amusing how things were described in the early 1960s.
Look at this map of the world which is in the book – Eskimos in Greenland and Alaska, Red Indians in North America, Indians in South America. In Africa we have Bedouin Arabs, Negroes and Forest Pigmies. Europe seems to consist only of Norwegians, Swiss and Greeks!
This next picture shows the title page. Throughout the book there are plenty of black and white pictures/drawings, and a few of these colour plates – I loved them!
But it’s the contents page which amazes me now. Look at the titles of the chapters!
Reading through that list, we’d never get away with using a book like this in school nowadays. The information in the chapters on the Negro, Red Indians and the Frizzy Haired Cannibals is perhaps the most politically incorrect now, and the description of a native Australian says he is rather ugly and not very clever. The book was printed in 1961 and was the 27th impression – I wonder what horrors were in the other 26 impressions!
I suppose in the 1960s we knew no differently, and I remember really enjoying this book, and being fascinated by all the different people of the world. I learned about the Land of the Rising Sun, that coconuts had milk in them, that Dutch children always wore traditional dress, that cannibals lived in houses on stilts, that Eskimos live in the Land of the Midnight Sun and the forest where the River Amazon flows is a forest of mystery… It was all so fantastic to read about, in the days before we had a television and could see life in other countries.
Is there any particular chapter that takes your fancy? I could include excerpts in future posts!