HEAR THAT TRAIN WHISTLE BLOW! by Milton Meltzer

HEAR THAT TRAIN WHISTLE BLOW!

How the Railroad Changed the World
Age Range: 10 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

A new entry in the venerable Landmark series examines the economic and social impact of the railroad on (despite the grandiose subtitle) the US. Beginning with a rather surprising assertion—that the railroad’s “invention led to the greatest change in human history since farming was invented . . .”—the text does a creditable job of backing itself up. Readers will learn how the railroad revolutionized the transportation of food to population centers, speeded up by magnitudes the white settlement of the west, brought immigrants to the country in droves, formed one of the bulwarks of the labor movement, and redrew the population map of the country. It’s a lot for one relatively small book to tackle, but Meltzer by and large manages it, although smooth transitions are frequently sacrificed in order to move on. Characteristically, the author’s keen sense of injustice gives rise to the narrative’s most impassioned writing, as in his account of the monumental—and largely overlooked—contributions of Chinese labor in “spinning the steel web that tied modern America together.” Entirely worthwhile, if a bit overambitious. (Nonfiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 2004
ISBN: 0-375-81563-5
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2004




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