Children's LiteratureThe "folly" was William Seward's purchase of Alaska from Russia for 7.2 million dollars in 1867. So soon after the expense of the Civil War, many thought it folly indeed, but the Secretary of State wore down the opposition and the half million square miles of Alaska became U. S. territory. This volume of the "Cornerstones of Freedom" series presents the story of Alaska both before and after its purchase. Always rich in natural resources, Alaska owed much of its growth to greed, its economy really taking off after gold was discovered in the Yukon. The author chronicles the plundering of the territory by capitalists, its steady gain in population, and the long struggle for statehood and Native rights. A good deal of space is given to the controversy over oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a subject still prominent in the news. Illustrations are mostly photographs, some rather dull, but others attractively picturing the state's wildlife and the beauty of glaciers and mountains. One intriguing old photo captures a circle of rugged gold miners posed with a furry dog and a very demure little girl in the foreground. Of interest, too, are the historical prints, especially a map of Alaska immediately after its acquisition, showing Russian place names and the future states of Washington and Oregon still as territories. Extra research pages provide a glossary, a well-illustrated timeline, an easy-to-use index, and a bibliography which includes Web sites about Alaska. 2002, Children's Press, Talcroft
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 3-6-Both of these entries in the second series of this frequently used set are consistent in their inclusion of large, full-color photos and illustrations and sidebars. Unfortunately, there is a noticeable lack of a table of contents. The texts are readable and informative and will serve as basic introductions. Presidential Inaugurations, a first for the series, gives an acceptable summary of this tradition that began with George Washington and shows how it plays a role in American history. Inaugural addresses are sampled, interesting facts from gala balls to snowstorms are shared, and an explanation of the Electoral College-and the confusion over whether the most recent inauguration should have been for Al Gore or George W. Bush-is included. Seward's Folly replaces Susan Clinton's The Story of Seward's Folly (Children's, 1987; o.p.) about the 1867 purchase of the land that became Alaska, with a dozen or so additional pages, mostly on the state's modern history. It is vastly more attractive and a solid replacement for the earlier title. Acceptable volumes to fill a core need in all collections.-Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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