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The Panama Canal: The Story of how a jungle was conquered and the world made smaller (Wonders of the World Book) Hardcover – October 1, 1998
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From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6-A solid, approachable introduction to the often amazing story of the Panama Canal, complete with full-color illustrations and historical photos. Mann traces the starts and stops of the undertaking from its French origins to its completion by the Americans, fueled throughout by the labor of workers from all over the world. The construction of the canal, with its locks and dams, is not an easy subject to relate. However, the author manages to render the technical language in the simplest of terms. She also addresses the unfair working and living conditions of the many laborers from the Caribbean. A pull-out illustration of how the canal works is included. Tim McNeese's The Panama Canal (Lucent, 1997) is more thorough, but for younger readers, Mann's book more than suffices.
Carol Fazioli, The Brearley School, New York City, NY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Mann (The Great Wall, 1997, etc.) offers the older end of the picture-book set a concrete, engaging narrative on another of the man-made wonders of the world. Opening her tale with the failure of the French, under Ferdinand de Lesseps, to construct their own canal in Panama, Mann quickly moves into the details of President Teddy Roosevelt's obsession with the project; he broke international law by encouraging and aiding Panama's rebellion for independence in 1903. The resulting treatythough unfair to Panamagave Roosevelt all the leverage he needed, and despite yellow fever and malaria, America soon poured thousands of workers and millions of dollars into this enterprise. While there were excellent living conditions for American workers in Panama, those conditions were not duplicated for Caribbean laborers: ``Black Caribbeans suffered a higher rate of death from accidents and disease than any other group.'' Rangel's lavish full-color illustrations capture the immense scale of the canal's construction, from the damming of the Chagres River to the construction of the locks on a four-page, fold-out spread. Mann and Rangel have created an exceptional resource for the classroom, as well as an epic piece of storytelling. (maps, diagrams, index) (Picture book/nonfiction. 9-12) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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I agree with previous reviewers that there is a definitive slant to the history provided by the author. Were this the only resource we were using to learn about the Canal, I would have felt compelled to tweak it to remove some of the author's bias. Instead, we are opting to explore several resources about the Canal, comparing and contrasting as we go. So far our two favorites are this book and the Nova special narrated by Path Between the Seas author David McCullough: NOVA: A Man, a Plan, a Canal - Panama
Bottom line: I recommend this as a Panama Canal resource for children, with the caveat that parents should be mindful of bias if this is the only resource they will be using.
- Nadine Slavinski, author of Lesson Plans Ahoy
Most recent customer reviews
Please do not include political agendas, especially if they are inaccurate, in so...Read more