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The Pushcart War Paperback – May 1, 1987
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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I bought it for my gifted (and extraordinarily beautiful, of course) pre- or early-teen grandchildren, but found myself having to
read it first. So they didn't get it for Christmas. But I'll try to get them into it in the next month or two, whenever a teachable
moment comes along.
Note: early versions of this book set the time frame of The Pushcart War as being years after the book was written, but being told as if in the past. I'm assuming that as time went on, they continued to change the years, as the latest version I have seen lists a more recent decade than the 1970s for when the war took place. I find it a little harder to place this in current-day Manhattan, so I would rather have seen an explanation in the front of the book and kept the dates of the war the same as originally written. I'd take off a small fraction of a star for that.
Loved reading this in grade school. My husband and middle-school daughter loved it when we read it aloud years ago, and I recently introduced and adult friend to it who like it as well.
If you are beyond the age of twelve and reading this book, you get a pretty good picture of old New York City. You will also notice that many (if not all) the characters that play significant parts in the Pushcart REVOLUTION (yeah, I bet that's what the author really wanted to name this book) belong to various minority groups - the only hint might be their names or the way they form certain phrases in dialogue, but if you look for it, it is there. Of course, whoever lived in NYC during that time knows from experience that most of the pushcart vendors were immigrants or somehow different from the majority, so it won't come as a surprise; but Jean Merrill works it in artfully, without being obvious.
This is a book that I enjoy rereading every few years.