Sunday, September 5, 2010

An Age of Extremes 1880-1917

Book 8 of Joy Hakim's "A History of US", An Age of Extremes is another fine entry in the 10-volume young adult US history set. Even though I like to consider myself quite knowledgeable about history in general and US history in particular, I always uncover new facts when I read these books. Moreover, I gain greater insight on the happenings of the era because of the excellent presentation. I love all of the interesting sidebars, pictures, and diagrams that are included.

This volume covers numerous topics from 1880 to the beginnings of World War I such as the rise of industry, the politics of business vs. government, and inventions galore. We get nice summaries of the major players of the day: tycoons such as Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Carnegie, or JP Morgan; Presidents like Grant, Hayes, Taft, Teddy Roosevelt and Wilson; and other prominent people who impacted US history like John Roebling, Frank Lloyd Wright, John Muir, William Jennings Bryan, and the Wright Brothers. Of special interest to me, because I like reading about the history of books, were nice summary biographies of L. Frank Baum, the author of the Wizard of Oz books, as well as the Muckrakers like Ida Tarbell and Upton Sinclair, not to mention Sam McClure and his stable of writers: Jack London, Rudyard Kipling, Stephen Crane, and Willa Cather. We bought this set of books for use in our kids' homeschooling effort and they are perfect for that purpose as they bring the history to life. Highly recommended.

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