Carolyn PhelanThis First Book series title provides an overview of the expansion into the American West from 1865 to 1900, dividing the subject into chapters on railroads, miners, cattlemen, and farmers. The quality of the writing varies, with sections of vivid descriptions and concrete details giving way to more general passages that call for fuller explanation. For example, the statement, "A sod house was just what it sounds like: walls of thick strips of sod laid upon each other" will not enlighten kids unfamiliar with the word "sod." Illustrations, appearing on approximately every other page, include good reproductions of period photographs, paintings, engravings, and woodcuts, as well as two maps. A serviceable choice for larger collections.
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