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Mill Paperback – October 30, 1989


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In Mill, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, David Macaulay pays tribute to the historically important mills of 19th-century New England. Using close-up pen-and-ink illustrations, Macaulay thoroughly explains the Yankee ingenuity that went into the elaborate process of running machines that were generated by the flow of water. In the case of this cotton mill in the imaginary town of Wicksbridge, Macaulay also demonstrates how important the mill was to a community's economic and social viability. In one scene, he shows the men and women celebrating the framing of the mill with a festive, barn-raising-style party. Macaulay tracks the mill's history, expertly explaining how all its new fixtures and materials reflect the political and industrial changes in the country. For example, in 1852 the owner sides with his abolitionist wife and shuns the use of "Negro cloth," inexpensive cloth made from slave-picked cotton. Instead he decides to start producing multi-colored, finer fabrics--a decision that leads to the expansion of the mill and the introduction of the steam engine. This is a finely woven offering, filled with technical intricacies and intriguing historical details. But ultimately, Macaulay's Mill is generated by the human story that led to the building of New England's cotton mills--as well as their eventual demise. (Ages 9 and older) --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This is another strikingly original lesson in history from the widely praised author/illustrator; the construction of a mill in a 19th-century Rhode Island town is "eloquently" depicted in text and "artistic, meticulous" drawings, said PW. All ages.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (October 30, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395520193
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395520192
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.4 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #318,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Macaulay is an award-winning author and illustrator whose books have sold millions of copies in the United States alone, and his work has been translated into a dozen languages. Macaulay has garnered numerous awards including the Caldecott Medal and Honor Awards, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Christopher Award, an American Institute of Architects Medal, and the Washington Post-Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award. In 2006, he was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, given "to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations." Superb design, magnificent illustrations, and clearly presented information distinguish all of his books. David Macaulay lives with his family in Vermont.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy M. Hanna on June 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Mill is, simply put, remarkably well crafted. In it, David Macaulay gives us a brief history of the beginnings of the textile industry in America, walks us through the planning and construction of four successively more complex mills, lavishly illustrates the buildings, the machines and their power sources and, at the same time, manages to thoroughly convince us that we would never want to work in one.
This last trick is subtle and, to my knowledge, doesn't appear in any of the other books in this series. From Cathedral, City and, to a lesser extent, Castle, you get the distinct feeling that these were great and noble projects that you would have loved to have been a part of. You get this sense too from Mill, but the heady rush that comes with the idea of building something from the ground up is tempered by small, fictional diary entries that betray the harshness of life for those who worked in the mills after their completion.
Mill is a strong contender for a place in your personal and permanent library. It is beautifully illustrated, historically grounded, thoroughly researched, accented with social commentary and, most importantly, it is an enjoyable, absorbing read.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By William Brennan on March 14, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an important book. Written for children, it can be used just as effectively by adults to comprehend the beginnings of the industrial revolution in the United States. Learn and see how men tamed our rivers and how men, women and children were swallowed up in these great monuments to progress.
The illustrations are remakable. David Macaulay deftly describes and illustrates how the technology that made America a world industrial power came to the young new country and how American ingenuity improved it and made the nation into a world class economic juggernaut.
The author is a superb story teller, and anyone who would like to visualize the nature of mills and to understand the profound impact of this technology on our country should read it.
I highly recommend this great children's book to everyone.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Akiko Ueno on October 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
A wonderful story that takes the reader through the life and times of an infant small village mill into the mature years of a 20th century factory-mill. Excellent illustrations, and fun storyline that allows the reader to become involved with the life of the mill. I loved it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Thomas Champagne on August 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
Macaulay is an illustrator, architect, engineer, historian, economist, anthropologist and story-teller. He puts all of this knowledge and skill into Mill. It is a totally one-of-a-kind book that does not easily fall under any traditional category. It is often labeled as a "kids' book" because it has pictures and is relatively short. But very little of the educational content would be considered common knowledge for adults. It reads like a history text-book, a technical manual, and a novel all in one.

It is an epic, multi-generational story of a fictional New England town that is born out of the textile boom of the Industrial Revolution. You follow the cotton-milling and cloth-weaving operations of this town and its mills as they grow and expand, incorporate new technology, and endure the tides of fortune. Along the way, you get to learn all the details of the planning, the machinery, the construction, read excerpts from the characters' journals and watch the town slowly grow and change over time. In the end, this short book feels like a monumental journey and it will leave you not only satisfied but smarter too.

I've read most of Macaulay's books and this is probably the best.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By HeatherHH on February 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
My 9-year-old son absolutely loves David Macaulay's Castle, Pyramid, Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction, and now Mill. This book focuses on the textile industry and illustrates and gives the history of progressively more advanced mills, as well as the history of the industry in general.

The black and white illustrations are remarkably compelling and very detailed. I'm not a particularly mechanical person, but I find them relatively easy to understand. These along with the mechanical descriptions have proved quite compelling to my son.

This book also has a small number of sample diary entries, giving a more personal feel to what life was like working in a textile mill. These entries, along with the main text descriptions, are very engaging.

David Macaulay's books are wonderful additions to any family library, but I would especially recommend them for homeschoolers. For independent reading, I'd recommend at least a 5th grade reading level, but those not yet at that point may benefit from the illustrations and some portions of the text.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Great Road Historian. on July 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Macaulay has produced a great resource for history teachers with his lushly illustrated book MILL. Within the first few pages he draws the reader into the fascinating story of the birth of the industrial revolution in America. The story begins in the present with the discovery of a Roman coin on the dig site of an old textile mill along the bank of a river in central Rhode Island and continues with a step by step explanation of how and why a textile mill is built and run. Adults as well as children will enjoy this book with it's engaging story and detailed illustrations. We are using this book to teach visitors to our historic two hundred year old mill how a mill is built and how it affected the birth of industry which built our country and made it the greatest nation in the world.
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