- Series: Dover Books on Americana
- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: Dover Publications (December 13, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0486436667
- ISBN-13: 978-0486436661
- Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.2 x 10.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Diary of an Early American Boy: Noah Blake 1805 (Dover Books on Americana) Paperback – December 13, 2004
"Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002)" by David Sedaris
In one of the most anticipated books of 2017, David Sedaris tells a story that is, literally, a lifetime in the making. Pre-order today
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Top Customer Reviews
Interspersing the original 1805 writings of Noah Blake and Mr. Sloane's own "liberties" was a stroke of genius that brings to life the lives of early Americana - farming, milling, building, forging, as well as interaction of parent and child, friendships, and courtley love.
This is the sort of style that would get school-age kids, from the upper El through high school, interested in our historical past. What did the folks of 200 years ago do during rainy days? It's here. How about the affects on their lives do to seasonal changes? Yep, that info is here, as well.
Mr. Sloane has a passion for history and it shows in his writing and detailed sketches. He tends to bring up the minute details of daily life that is rarely - if ever - brought up in the "scholarly" history books that cost five times as much. Mr. Sloane's work is always interesting and never stodgy. I have numerous books by this author and have yet to be disappointed.
If you have any interest in American social history, then Diary of an Early American Boy (and all of Eric Sloane's books) come highly recommended.
So thats why you want to buy the hardcover version.
Now on with the review.
This book begins with the ultimate irony. In the preface, Sloane tells a story of himself as a small child, with the point being that he has no respect for old things simply because they are old. He only has respect for things that are useful. This is pretty amazing, considering that the book is exclusively about old things. However, it makes total sense. Everything in the book is useful, so its a lovely point.
Have you ever enjoyed watching "this old house"? How about watching other people work and build things? Maybe you just like to know how to make things work when you go "off the grid". In all three cases, there is good reason to believe that you will enjoy this book.
The book is very interesting, and is broken down into three basic parts:
1) Actual diary transcriptions. This can include the words that noah blake wrote, a recipe for how to get bugs off of trees, or a complicated table of bridge tolls that varied depending on which state minted the money used to pay for passage.
2) Conjecture about what the diary passages mean, as well as explanations and drawings describing the tools or techniques used to do the work.
3) Historical fiction in the form of dialogue, written by Sloane, which helps to stitch the information together.
I don't think I've ever read a book quite like that. One page, you are reading fictional dialogue, the next, you are looking at some very well penned drawings showing how the work was done.
This book has a lot of great information in it. Information that has largely passed from modern memory, like, why a real carpenter will always use a wood peg instead of a metal nail, unless they cannot avoid it any other way. Or why a mill with wooden wheels can run better than a mill with metal wheels. How about why Farmer's Almanacs are actually useful. Maybe you'd like to know how to carry water in a piece of canvas. Its all here. Beautifully useful information, presented in a enjoyable fashion.
I recently loaned this copy to a friend of mine, and after finishing the book he immediately picked up a copy for his own library. Its that sort of book.
So I would greatly recommend that you check it out, at least from the library, if not buying it outright. Its a real gem.
The book is best read aloud to this age level (10-11 years old), and in small increments. It is rich with content, and the illustrations are excellent. It is a sit together and savor the pictures kind of book, not a book to rush through. It is a go outside together and try to recreate the described invention kind of book. It is not to be rushed through, that would gain you little.
Buy, savor, but if you are in a hurry, don't bother. I don't think most kids will pick this book up on their own without prompting. The excellent illustrations are, nevertheless, black and white (or brown and white), and many children aren't drawn to these less stunning types of art.
Hope that helps!