Sharply reproduced black-and-white and full-color portraits, cityscapes, and images--cropped into ovals and rectangles, arranged in generous amounts of space--of quaintly angular mechanical devices visually document some of the changes wrought to 19th-century and early 20th-century American industry and home life by a flood of new inventions. It's an idealized picture: George Ferris's giant wheel looms over the 1893 Columbian Exposition; an office worker kicks back, eating an apple, presumably freed from drudgery by the typewriter; farmers lounge atop a rickety combine. This largely disappointing album in the Library of Congress Book series is as bland as a politician's speech. The brief, hyperbolic, present-tense text will leave readers feeling good about this period in history, but only marginally better informed about it. Sandier (Immigrants, p. 232, etc.) names inventors and their products, but seldom describes how either person or invention worked; acknowledges the contributions of African-Americans while relegating women to classes in how to board trolleys decorously; and devotes a single page to inventions of the last 75 years. The pictures are pretty; the history is simplistic and slanted.