You are preparing for college or are already there or you are just one of those people who are hungry to learn.
Maybe your vocabulary needs a little strengthening. Do you pick up a dictionary and start memorizing words? Well, that’s one method, but it isn’t as fruitful as working your way through a book designed to build your vocabulary -- and there are many fine books that do just that.

But what about your cultural vocabulary? You may have heard such names as Ferdinand de Saussure, Marshall McLuhan, Alexander Calder. But do you know what they are famous for? What is Epic Theater, Magic Realism, Atonal Music, The God Particle, the Vienna Circle?


Can you identify the people most closely associated with the following: “the map is not the territory,” “less is more,” “the ghost in the machine,” “conspicuous consumption,” “the banality of evil,” “the long march through the institutions”?


Cybernetics? Isn’t that some book by L. Ron Hubbard? (It isn’t, by the way).


So, do you pick up an encyclopedia or go on the Internet and begin browsing? Well, that’s one method...


But in Biographical Snapshots of the Modern World you will be introduced to the ideas and the people mentioned above as well as many more. An important word here is “introduced.” This Kindle book is not a hefty tome that covers all the biographical details of the two-hundred people being presented nor does it cover all aspects of the works they produced. But, it is hoped, after you finish the book, these people will no longer be complete strangers to you and you can do further research on those you find interesting.


It’s a book of quizzes that gives you the answers to questions such as those above. In each of twenty units, you get a short, multiple-choice quiz on ten culturally significant people and you are provided with brief, biographical summaries of them in the answers. After each five units, there is a twenty-five question review test with answers that give even more information about the people, works, and ideas covered in the preceding five units. Following the twenty units and review tests, there are five more, twenty-question, general tests with answers.


In addition to the non-traditional text format, the brevity of the book is the result of an attempt to convey the ideas under review as succinctly as possible with a minimum of jargon. Moreover, the educational value of the book is enhanced by the fact that very well-known people have been left out (we all know who Elvis Presley was, don't we?) and quotes included in the answer sections have generally been selected for their relevance to the ideas that have been presented.


Just as those vocabulary-building books do not include all the words in the dictionary, Biographical Snapshots of the Modern World does not begin to cover all the culturally significant people of the last hundred years. It is a sampling and the book could easily grow into a series with dozens of additional volumes. Perhaps it will.


This Kindle book includes a hyper-linked table of contents and two hyper-linked indexes for quick navigation. The price is only $2.99.

"The enjoyable part of the book is how hard it is."
"More productive than sudoku! "
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