School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 4-8-Two brief biographies that introduce major figures of 20th-century technology, one a triumph of ingenuity and marketing and the other a tragedy of preempted publicity. The books follow similar formats: six or seven short chapters relate the man's childhood, education, personal and professional lives, and career accomplishments. Black-and-white photos and reproductions are basic, serving more of an archival than explanatory function, and some are only tangentially connected to the texts. Bankston's more riveting style and grammatically complex text provides smooth flowing readability without glorifying a genius whose warts, including overt anti-Semitism, made him a less than totally admirable human being. Curiously, the author chose to highlight the assembly line in the title as Ford's contribution rather than the automobile, which is more familiar to most students. Farnsworth offers a painful portrait of a man whose accomplishments were never acknowledged during his lifetime, having been finessed by marketing wizard David Sarnoff, who successfully financed a less independent and demanding rival. Told in simplistic, albeit grade-appropriate, prose consisting primarily of declarative sentences, the text remains interesting more for its content than its presentation. Both of these informative introductions to complicated men will enrich biography sections.-Mary R. Hofmann, Rivera Middle School, Merced, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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