1919: The Year That Changed America

Martin W. Sandler. Bloomsbury, $24.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-68119-801-9
In six lucid chapters, Sandler (Apollo 8: The Mission That Changed Everything) details headline-dominating events from 1919, “one of the most momentous years in the nation’s history.” After a riveting start devoted to a single, highly destructive incident—Boston’s Great Molasses Flood, which led to building code, municipal oversight, and corporate liability precedents—Sandler proceeds to topics with a longer history, some of whose reverberations continue today: the passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, widespread racial strife, waves of red scares that spread the fear of a Communist takeover, labor unrest, and the advent of Prohibition. For each subject, Sandler provides historical context, recounts the specific events of 100 years ago, and traces the impact through to the present day. He succeeds to varying degrees in making connections between women’s presence in government and business, the Black Lives Matter movement, immigration, white supremacy, climate change, gun control, and public health. Even so, Sandler’s narrative skill and eye for detail, and the abundant archival photos throughout, make for an engrossing resource. Further reading, sources, credits, and an index augment the text. Ages 10-14. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/19/2018
Release date: 01/08/2019
Genre: Children's
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