Steam engines have always been identified with the modern industrial revolution; here, the story of their invention is fraught with courage, disaster and ingenuity. Unfortunately, though, that doesn't come through in this superficial essay. Though the author does mention the important people and the refinements for which they are best known, she writes in term-paperese (""Looming large was the advent of steam power"") and speaks of steam's social effects in distant, impersonal tones (""Farms and factories put out calls for more workers"") that will glaze the eyes of the most inquisitive reader. The fact that several kinds of steam engines are still in use today is briefly acknowledged, but the topic is not developed. Quackenbush's Watt Got You Started, Mr. Fulton? approaches the subject in a livelier way; more technical details can be found in Weiss' Motors and Engines and How They Work.