cover image Mason/Dixon Line/Fire

Mason/Dixon Line/Fire

Judith St George. Putnam Publishing Group, $16.95 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22240-5

Familiar history is combined with little-known yet engrossing facts to create an illuminating volume about the Civil War dividing line. St. George ( The Amazing Voyage of the New Orleans ; The Brooklyn Bridge: They Said It Couldn't Be Built ) lays out in lively prose the events and causes that made the line a symbolic landmark of the nation's growth. Thanks to her sound, extensive research, all points are admirably covered--the colonial border dispute between Pennsylvania and Maryland; George Washington's military stand to enforce federal laws in a new nation; manifest destiny and the extension of the line westward; and the Civil War and the question of slavery. But the book's true strength lies in the obscure information seamlessly blended with textbook material. The account of Mason and Dixon's actual survey, done over the course of many years and at some peril to their lives, makes for intriguing reading all on its own. Ages 10-14. (Oct.)