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Children's LiteratureThis four-chapter-plus-extras nonfiction text provides an account of the design, building, and fame of France's Eiffel Tower, considered to be one of the most famous buildings in the world. Built it 1889, the tower has hosted 216 million visitors, a radio station, two restaurants, and radio and television antennae. In a contest entry to create a tower that would help showcase the best of French culture, engineer Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel offered a non-traditional metal tower that would be the largest in the world. While Eiffel's plan met some initial resistance--some Parisians thought that the metal tower would be "useless and monstrous" and nothing more than "a dirty factory chimney"--the carefully designed masterwork became the main attraction at the World's Fair of 1889. Over the years the Eiffel Tower managed to find its own niche in history, first in a more useful manner--housing a radio antennae when people questioned the practicality of the tower--then as a symbol of domination--the German's put their flag at the top of the tower during the German occupation during World War II--and today as a landmark to which people still flock. As with most of the better short nonfiction books, this book has notes that correspond with each chapter, a utilitarian glossary, and solid sites for further exploration. The text reads quickly and has solid illustrations that support the text. This is an interesting read that should pique interest in the Eiffel Tower. 2006, Thomson Gale, Ages 8 to 12.
—Jean Boreen, Ph.D.