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Secrets Underground: North America's Buried Past Hardcover – February 6, 2014


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 12
  • Hardcover: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Annick Press (February 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554516315
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554516315
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,781,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4–8—What mysteries are buried under our modern cities? How were those underground places used? This book attempts to look at North America's buried secrets from a historic point of view. Beginning with Mexico City's foundation on the Aztec city of Tenochtitá and moving chronologically across the rest of North America to include buried ships in San Francisco from the Gold Rush; a West Virginia cave used by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War; Prohibition-era underground tunnels of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan; New York City's buried machinery during World War II; and a giant bunker in West Virginia used during the Cold War. Chapters open with a short narrative meant to hook readers and then give a description of the underground structure and its historical significance. However, students may lose interest, as the historical background is a trifle circuitous and takes precedent, leaving little room for exploration of the subterranean areas. There are surprisingly few actual photos of the caves and tunnels, and what the book does have are small sized. The sidebars are filled with ancillary information that doesn't always enhance or complement the text. Readers who are drawn to historical mysteries may be disappointed.—Patricia Feriano, Our Lady of Mercy School, Potomac, MD

Review

MacLeod has produced yet another immensely readable, engaging piece of middle-grade nonfiction with wide appeal. (Jaclyn McLean Resource Links 2014-04-00)

The stories in this book are well researched and thought-provoking, providing an illuminating glimpse into the dark history buried under our daylight world. (Charis Cotter Readerly, National Reading Campaign 2014-01-30)

Customer Reviews

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See all 9 customer reviews
All the sites are historically interesting.
S. Mahaffey
The would be wonderful for a child in middle to late elementary school as well as anyone else who is interested in history.
KatherineP
I'm quite fascinated with this topic and enjoyed the book immensely.
Nicola Mansfield

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As usual, I paid nothing for this book but instead received a copy for review from NetGalley. Despite that kind consideration I give my candid thoughts below.

"Secrets Underground" is a very accessible yet detailed story of six different locations on the continent that have something buried underground. In some cases it's actual open passages or rooms and in others it's just remnants of some bygone era. The average section is about 15 pages long and features 12 photographs from half a page in size to thumbnails so this is about 70% text and 30% color photos. It's primarily textual and probably appropriate for 10-12 year-olds.

On the positive side, the author has chosen some very intriguing locales and it makes me want to travel more just reading a bit about them. Also, as I said the text is detailed enough to keep a young reader's interest but very careful to define words that kids probably wouldn't know.

To the negative, many of the photos are rather small and some pages are decorated with abominable clip art of digging implements. The graphical layout seems rather unprofessional and at times distracting.

In summary, the book lives up to its name and offers widely varied information on those mysterious bits lurking underground. It could use a bit more polish but it's sufficient to keep kids interest.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pop Bop TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This book was a happy find, and it did a nice job of overcoming the two weaknesses you see a lot in non-fiction for younger readers. First, it actually describes a varied and interesting range of "underground secrets", complemented by numerous sidebars that add references to and descriptions of many more sites related to the main ones. So, it truly delivers on its promise. Second, it seemed to me, (and I claim no real expertise here), that it was written in a style and at a depth that stayed consistently at the target audience's reading and interest level.

I've now read a number of early middle grade non-fiction books that sound like they will be interesting - introductions to astronomy, surveys of forensic science, anatomy books. These books can sometimes be disappointing because they either just peter out or they veer off into topics of little interest or they get tied up in points of only technical interest. Well, this book seems to be composed of underground secrets that are actually fun to read about. You get the ancient Aztec capital under Mexico City, the abandoned sailing ships that San Francisco's waterfront is built on, caves, tunnels, old nuclear survival bunkers, the famous prohibition era tunnels of Moose Jaw, and dozens of sidebars about more underground cities, more tunnels, abandoned underground railways, and so on. This is a fairly short book, and there are a zillion other cool places you could add to it, but for what it is it seems like a book that could entertain, inform and fire the imagination.

As to style, many books are all over the place. In spots the books are dumbed down with "goofy" jokes, and fart humor, and "...for dummies" humor that reminds a kid reader that, apparently, he's just a kid. This book doesn't do that.
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By S. Mahaffey on December 14, 2014
Format: Paperback
The sites chosen are quite varied and fascinating. The author has used historical records to decide what "under grounds" are explored. All the sites are historically interesting. The images and period photos add additional facts about the sites. It is a great book to create interest in the continent of North America for students in school. There is much more to history than what is above ground.

A book that will interest students and adults as these are places where many people are not aware of these historical sites. It is well written. I hope the author will continue to write about other continents hidden sites.

Disclaimer: I received a digital galley of this book free from the publisher from NetGalley. I was not obliged to write a favourable review, or even any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.
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Format: Paperback
Wow, this book is detailed! There are sidebars and captions and sidebars to the sidebar. Everything is well photographed and the author does a fantastic job of putting history in context. This is not a book you pick up and breeze through. This is one you study and discuss, look through again and then do extra research on something you read about. The would be wonderful for a child in middle to late elementary school as well as anyone else who is interested in history. I definitely look forward to reading it again in an actual hard copy as my main flaw with it was I didn't think it translated well to e-book format.
Full review: http://iwishilivedinalibrary.blogspot.com/2014/02/secrets-underground-review-218.html
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Format: Paperback
Our entire family enjoyed this book! There are six exhaustively researched tales of fascinating secrets hidden underground. From hidden temples to gangsters to nuclear shelters, you just never know what you may find hidden away underground! MacLeod is one of our favorite authors for non-fiction that we can read right along with the kids. She writes so well and the books are so enjoyable, the kids don't realize they are learning something!

This nifty book has a TON of photos, illustrations and sidebars to bring these hidden sites to life. There is also a wonderful bibliography at the end for even more reading. Highly recommend!! I received a copy of the book-the review is my own.
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