I liked both books for the following reasons:
- They were in general not "religious", meaning they did not attribute scientific progress or lack thereof to religion, particularly Islam. When discussed, secular factors, primarily sponsorship by the wealthy and powerful, were identified as the cause of scientific progress.
- They contained illustrations with informative captions, sidebars introducing tangential lines of inquiry, and discussions of the subjects' ideas and their place in their intellectual milieu.
- They have a glossary and a recommended reading list.
The publisher recommends this for grades 5-8. I think it could benefit students at all levels, yet the writing is accessible to the younger age group the publisher recommends.