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BENEATH THE STREETS OF BOSTON by Joe McKendry

BENEATH THE STREETS OF BOSTON

Building America’s First Subway

By Joe McKendry

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: June 15th, 2005
ISBN: 1-56792-284-8
Publisher: Godine

A stunning examination of the development of Boston’s subway system—the first in the country—takes readers from 1895 to 1916 and explores the four distinct technological challenges met by the planners of the system as it spread from the city center to the suburbs, and under the harbor. Newspaper and magazine illustrator McKendry uses a variety of means to place readers in the time and to depict the progress of Boston’s first big dig. Maps, details, cross sections and diagrams all combine to illustrate the different challenges met; endpapers decorated with period signs and, most spectacularly, sepia-wash paintings so realistic as to make readers look for photo credits ground the narrative visually. Rather more problematically, faux newspaper pages present complementary articles, flanked by other news of the day, to further contextualize the narrative. That these recreations look real enough to fool readers is no small testament to their craft; however, they are not facsimiles but fabrications for the most part, and without any backmatter whatsoever to parse source from artistic license, they betray readers who seek—and deserve—unambiguously non-fictional accounts. (Nonfiction. 10-14)