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The Century for Young People

I love history. But in most textbooks for kids, you don’t find continuous chronological chapters of one whole exciting century with firsthand experiences from ordinary people who were a part of history in the making. But I let my imagination just soar as I experienced the 20th century through the eyes of the people who lived it in the book called The Century for Young People, by Peter Jennings and Todd Brewster, who were both on the staff of ABC News.

I think these two authors chose the twentieth century because it is a time of tremendous change. Ordinary people – adults and children – relate their thrilling – and most terrifying – experiences during a specific time of history. This book reveals the Wright brothers’ airplane and first-hand experiences in World War I. It shows how the country went from “Boom to Bust” during the Great Depression. I learned about many great leaders from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Martin Luther King Jr. I read about some horrible experiences of the Holocaust, and the anger and resentment the Jews held against Hitler. The explosion of the Challenger unfolded before my eyes and the 7 astronauts were honored for their bravery . From Jackson Robinson to Princess Diana, this book spun me back in time. I had trouble putting down this wonderful book, filled with over 200 exquisitely reproduced photographs with an astonishing power to entertain and educate me. It is the story of the past 100 years of history from 1900 – until the year when I was born – 1999.


          This is history through the eyes of ordinary people who lived through extraordinary times. Premier journalist Peter Jennings has woven together top-notch reporting and compelling first-hand accounts to form an incomparable world history. A profusion of photographs helps bring to life the events that shaped this century. A must-read for both serious and casual history students.This is history as it was lived, and as it will be remembered for the next hundred years.Here are the voices of ordinary people–children and adults–expressing their joys and sorrows, their hopes and fears, as they watched history being made.

This book is suitable for readers ages 11 and up.


Peter Jennings is the anchor and senior editor of ABC’s World News Tonight. In more than thirty-five years as a broadcast journalist, he has worked in most parts of the world, from the American South to Southern Africa, from the Middle East to eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Among the hundreds of programs he has been a part of, he treasures those he has done with and for the young. Young people, he says, ask questions their parents are too embarrassed to ask.

Todd Brewster was the senior editorial producer of ABC’s The Century television series. In more than twenty years as a journalist, he has covered the American national political scene and the collapse of Communism in eastern Europe, both for Life, where he was a writer and editor. He was also the editor of Life’s special issues on historical themes. Todd Brewster is now on the staff of ABC News.

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