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A true disaster story rivetingly told.

On the morning of July 24, 1915, the 2,500 passengers aboard the excursion ship SS Eastland were looking forward to a pleasant outing at a Lake Michigan destination but instead found disaster.

In a tautly written, vividly detailed, suspenseful narrative, Sutton chronicles the event that stands today as the greatest loss of life on the Great Lakes. From the time of the Eastland’s launch in 1903, design flaws making her susceptible to listing were known though kept quiet by the company that owned it. The ship was top-heavy, which became evident when passengers congregated on the upper decks. Several incidents in the intervening years indicated the Eastland was destined for catastrophe. It occurred when the ship was chartered to take employees and their families from Western Electric Company’s Hawthorne Works to a picnic in Michigan City, Indiana. This was a major event for the workers, most of whom were first- and second-generation Polish and Czech immigrants and could not take holidays. The Eastland capsized in the Chicago River while still moored to the pier. Seventy percent of the 844 passengers and crew who perished were under the age of 25. Sutton raises several provocative questions: Why is so much known about the Titanic’s sinking and yet so little about the Eastland disaster? Why was no one ever held responsible for this catastrophe? Her fast-paced account makes ample use of primary sources, plaiting them into her narrative naturally as dialogue.

A true disaster story rivetingly told. (maps, photo, diagrams, source notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: July 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61373-943-3

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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From the Race to the Truth series

Deftly written and informative; a call for vigilance and equality.

An examination of the history of Chinese American experiences.

Blackburn opens with a note to readers about growing up feeling invisible as a multicultural, biracial Chinese American. She notes the tremendous diversity of Chinese American history and writes that this book is a starting point for learning more. The evenly paced narrative starts with the earliest recorded arrival of the Chinese in America in 1834. A teenage girl, whose real name is unknown, arrived in New York Harbor with the Carnes brothers, merchants who imported Chinese goods and put her on display “like an animal in a circus.” The author then examines shifting laws, U.S. and global political and economic climates, and changing societal attitudes. The book introduces the highlighted people—including Yee Ah Tye, Wong Kim Ark, Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, and Vincent Chen—in relation to lawsuits or other transformative events; they also stand as examples for explaining concepts such as racial hierarchy and the model minority myth. Maps, photos, and documents are interspersed throughout. Chapters close with questions that encourage readers to think critically about systems of oppression, actively engage with the material, and draw connections to their own lives. Although the book covers a wide span of history, from the Gold Rush to the rise in anti-Asian hate during the Covid-19 pandemic, it thoroughly explains the various events. Blackburn doesn’t shy away from describing terrible setbacks, but she balances them with examples of solidarity and progress.

Deftly written and informative; a call for vigilance and equality. (resources, bibliography, image credits) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 26, 2024

ISBN: 9780593567630

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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If Freedman wrote the history textbooks, we would have many more historians. Beginning with an engrossing description of the Boston Tea Party in 1773, he brings the reader the lives of the American colonists and the events leading up to the break with England. The narrative approach to history reads like a good story, yet Freedman tucks in the data that give depth to it. The inclusion of all the people who lived during those times and the roles they played, whether small or large are acknowledged with dignity. The story moves backwards from the Boston Tea Party to the beginning of the European settlement of what they called the New World, and then proceeds chronologically to the signing of the Declaration. “Your Rights and Mine” traces the influence of the document from its inception to the present ending with Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. The full text of the Declaration and a reproduction of the original are included. A chronology of events and an index are helpful to the young researcher. Another interesting feature is “Visiting the Declaration of Independence.” It contains a short review of what happened to the document in the years after it was written, a useful Web site, and a description of how it is displayed and protected today at the National Archives building in Washington, D.C. Illustrations from the period add interest and detail. An excellent addition to the American history collection and an engrossing read. (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8234-1448-5

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2000

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