Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Monday, December 2, 2019

1919: the Year that Changed America by Martin W. Sandler

1919: the Year that Changed America
Martin W. Sandler
Bloomsbury. 2019
Grades 6 - 12
2019 National Book Award Winner for Young People's Literature

Award-winning author, Sandler, gives an overview of the year, 1919, by examining how pinnacle moments and “their underlying social movements set the stage for the next hundred years of momentum and setbacks.”

The six topics examined over six chapters include, An Amazing Event: The Great Molasses Flood; Women Get The Vote: the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment giving women the right to vote; The Red Summer: the escalation of violence against African Americans; The Red Scare: the fear of communism spreading to the US; Strikes and More Strikes; A Noble Experiment: prohibition.

Sandler conveys just how each event built upon the next and expertly weaves into the narrative the social impact and how we are still feeling the effects today.

The book includes lots of black & white archival photos, and side bars with more details. At the end of each chapter is a timeline of events or acts and how they have had an impact on the topics before and after 1919. 

Back matter includes further reading and websites, source notes, index.

Each chapter is absorbing. I found the chapter, Strikes and More Strikes eye-opening. As workers went on strike seeking a living wage and safe working conditions, newspapers spread lies and discontent (fake news). One hundred years later, we have seen a tremendous growth and prosperity in manufacturing. Yet, “Much of the growth came at the expense of the workers, who were victimized by greedy owners much more interested in profits than the welfare of the labor force.” We also are witness to the decline of jobs and more and more manufacturers replace human workers with robots and other forms of automation. 

An engrossing read for history lovers.

To review this book, I borrowed a copy from my local public library

1 comment:

  1. This has been on my to-read list for some time now. Must move it up!!