If you’ve never used an interactive book before, I can best describe it as a book and an app combined into a kind of hybrid appbook. It’s way more fun than using a standard book or ebook as all kinds of multimedia is added to give you a different learning experience altogether.
In Civil War Interactive there are audio clips, recordings of Abraham Lincoln, battle songs, letters and 6 interactive timelines. There is really a lot packed into this app/book and the layout of the interface and screens is beautiful.
When you first open Civil War Interactive you are shown a brief introduction of the Civil War with some great flute music, which sounds oddly cute. Then you are taken to the ‘Introduction’ which also acts as the home screen, which you can go back to if you get lost when you’re navigating after a few beers.
Each month of the Civil War which lasted from 1861 to 1865 is documented through out the app. You can easily find out about why this Civil War started and viewpoints from ‘the Union’ and ‘the Confederacy’ through out the war. Of particular interest to me is that the Civil War’s origins stem from the issue of slavery.
You can view the information in this app by events, in a timeline view, and there is also a map to get an overview of which states were involved and how they played a part in the Civil War. As an example, you can navigate to ‘Roots Of The War’ to see the very first events that early tensions caused. Then there are sub-sections such as ‘Slavery’, where you can find out why the South decided to thrive on slavery and the terrible treatment slaves were subjected to.
A cool addition the developer has included is the ability to make the type bigger for people with poor eyesight, or those who prefer to read a large sized font. In the left hand corner of the screen you will see an ‘A-‘ & ‘A+’ button to make the type bigger or smaller in increments.
There is even a section on post war reconstruction, where you can read about the 3 million slaves that were declared free. Throughout the app book there are some great pictures and multimedia to experience. I noticed that when there is something interesting to click, a virtual hand pointing to the clickable multimedia area briefly appears to let you know that there is something worth clicking on. This is a nice touch by the developer, as otherwise people would miss and pass by some great multimedia additions.
The app book is packed with multimedia, great content and a cracking interface and navigation options. The book has ample information on all aspects of the American Civil War but it doesn’t flood you with unnecessary details to make the reading heavy. You get a really good overview of the Civil War without being bombarded by small details to trawl through before reading a pertinent point.
Room to improve
I can’t think of a single improvement for this app. It is well balanced and doesn’t need any unnecessary additions. However, Touchzing has released an app about WW 1 which I read recently and I would like to suggest to the developer, if they are not doing so already, to produce a book app about WW2.
Why am I suggesting this? Well, after reading through Touchzing’s WW1 book I immediately went onto the app store to see if a WW2 interactive book by this developer was available. I would bet that many people who have purchased the WW1 book will want to purchase a WW2 book to complete the collection, as WW2 is the next progression to the second half of the war. So I will email the developers and ask if a WW2 book app is in development or not and post an update on this review if there is one on the horizon.
UPDATE: I’ve been in touch with Touchzing Media and they have indeed already made a WW2 interactive book under a different company name ‘Internet Design Zone’. To check it out just follow this link. I’ll be reviewing this app soon.
I love interactive books like Civil War Interactive, they are so much fun to use. I wish there were more available to download. The only trouble is that when I go back to a conventional book, a paperback book or ebook seems boring in comparison. So, in a nutshell, in my view these interactive books from Touchzing are fantastic.
Touchzing also have an American history app book and one about the life of Abraham Lincoln if you are interested in these two areas of history. Personally, I’m interested in Touchzing’s American history app, but I’m also waiting for a WW2 book which I’d love to review as well if it is ever produced. An email is on the way to Touchzing right now to ask . . .
Fun to use, interesting to read and chok full of multimedia just waiting to be discovered.