"We Were There" is a collection of stories from people who escaped the Titanic, fought in the trenches, spent hard time in prison camps, met the Beatles, saw the mushroom cloud and went to the moon.

The idea of grouping a bunch of eyewitness historical accounts into a book is not new, but "We Were There: An Eyewitness History of the Twentieth Century" is still a fun read.

This selection, edited by Robert Fox, covers mostly the 20th century, from the time of the Wright brothers' flight to the recent mass protests in Iran. Pages in between include accounts of two world wars, communist uprisings, sieges and head-spinning cultural changes.

Readers meet Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden and some more inspiring folks, too.

Rosa Parks provides an almost matter-of-fact account of the evening she was too tired to stand on the bus.

Some of these accounts are well known. But many of the gems are from forgotten correspondents, such as the hobo describing the perils of jumping boxcars.

Be warned, this book is heavy on war stories - stuff such as soldiers getting shelled and shot down from the sky.

There are a few duds, too. But even the less engaging pieces are short. It's easy to flip a few pages to find another fascinating peek into the 20th century.

AP-ES-10-13-10 0953EDT

'We Were There: An Eyewitness History of the Twentieth Century'

The Overlook Press, $30), edited by Robert Fox: