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Children's LiteratureAlthough few machines in today's world are powered by steam, it is impossible to understand the progression of technology without knowing the history of the steam engine. This book from the "Great Inventions" series explores the development of the steam engine and how it affected not only machinery but also society. The first two chapters are devoted to the various inventors who contributed to the steam engine. Chapters three and four explain how steam-powered trains lead to the era of railways in both Europe and the United States. The development of railways in the United States directly paralleled the nation's metamorphosis into a superpower, and the book does a very good job of explaining how this occurred. The final chapter describes the inventions that eventually replaced the steam engine and how it fell out of favor in the modern world. While the book's explanation of how a steam engine works lacks a diagram and might be hard to follow, the historical and societal information is very well presented. 2006, Benchmark/Marshall Cavendish, Ages 8 up.
—Amie Rose Rotruck