Secrets Underground: North America's Buried Pastby Elizabeth MacLeod
Uncover the spine-tingling mysteries and eerie surprises that lurk right under your feet!
Gr 4–8—What mysteries are buried under our modern cities? How were those underground places used? This book attempts to look at North America's buried secrets from a historic point of view. Beginning with Mexico City's foundation on the Aztec city of Tenochtitá and moving chronologically across the rest of North America to include buried ships in San Francisco from the Gold Rush; a West Virginia cave used by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War; Prohibition-era underground tunnels of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan; New York City's buried machinery during World War II; and a giant bunker in West Virginia used during the Cold War. Chapters open with a short narrative meant to hook readers and then give a description of the underground structure and its historical significance. However, students may lose interest, as the historical background is a trifle circuitous and takes precedent, leaving little room for exploration of the subterranean areas. There are surprisingly few actual photos of the caves and tunnels, and what the book does have are small sized. The sidebars are filled with ancillary information that doesn't always enhance or complement the text. Readers who are drawn to historical mysteries may be disappointed.—Patricia Feriano, Our Lady of Mercy School, Potomac, MD
MacLeod digs into historical records (though not particularly deeply) to shine a light on selected tunnels and other underground installations that have fallen into obscurity.Her chosen sites, evidently selected more for geographical spread than similarity, range from the ruins of Tenochtitlán’s Templo Mayor below Mexico City and a West Virginia cave that became an important secret source of saltpeter for the Confederacy to tunnels beneath Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, used by Chinese immigrants and bootleggers, and a huge bomb shelter built for Congress during the Cold War. All have intriguing histories, though much of what the author relates is speculative or, like the scene-setting miniepisodes that open each chapter, invented to crank up the drama. She also doesn’t consistently drill down to specific details about how these subterranean wonders were constructed or, in more modern times, reconstructed. Furthermore, though most of the images and period photos add informative visual notes, some filler has been mixed in, and several sidebars are poorly placed—being, at best, only marginally related to adjacent passages.Still, this will give general readers hints of what draws spelunkers and urban archaeologists to probe below our planet’s surface. (Nonfiction. 10-12)
- Annick Press, Limited
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 7.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.30(d)
- Age Range:
- 12 - 14 Years
Meet the Author
Elizabeth MacLeod is a prolific author of non-fiction books for children, including Bones Never Lie and the Red Maple Award-winning Royal Murder. She lives in Toronto.
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I was intrigued by this book when I saw it because I've been a fan of the TV show Cities of the Underworld on the History Channel. If you are a fan of that series, you will definitely want to pick of this book. The first chapter interested me the most as it was on a topic that I teach, the Aztecs. It explains the history of the Aztecs from how they chose the city of Tenochtitlan as their capital to their defeat by the Spanish. It then explains how the city got buried and how it was uncovered. It concludes with what is happening now with the discovery. The rest of the book is similar covering ships buried in San Francisco during the Gold Rush, a forgotten cave used during the Civil War in West Virginia, underground tunnels used during the Prohibition in Canada, Grand Central Terminal's underground tunnels in New York City, and the bunker under the Greenbrier hotel in West Virginia. There are also facts that can be found in the margins of the books that give information about other places with similar "hidden treasures." This is definitely a book to have if you teach any aspect of US History. As a lover of history, I was throughly intrigued with every aspect of the book. As a teacher, I really think that my students will love learning these unusual facts about our country.