Hoover Dam

Front Cover
Mikaya Press, 2001 - Juvenile Nonfiction - 44 pages
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They called the river the Red Bull. Desert silt gave the Colorado its distinctive color, but it was its power and unpredictability that made its fierce reputation. Speeding down from the high Rockies, the Colorado would flood without warning, wiping out any farmer foolish enough to settle near its banks.

But what if the Red Bull could be tamed? Farmlands irrigated by the Colorado's waters could bloom in the desert. Cities electrified by the Colorado's power could grow and prosper. The Hoover Dam grew from this dream and with it much of the modern American west.

Built in the middle of The Great Depression, the Hoover Dam was set in an unforgiving landscape whose climate defied habitation much less intense, backbreaking physical labor. Yet, during those hard times and in that desolate place, there rose an extraordinarily sophisticated feat of modern engineering.

The Hoover Dam is the dramatic story of the danger, suffering, courage and genius that went into the building of one of America's most famous landmarks.

Wonders of the World series

The winner of numerous awards, this series is renowned for Elizabeth Mann's ability to convey adventure and excitement while revealing technical information in engaging and easily understood language. The illustrations are lavishly realistic and accurate in detail but do not ignore the human element. Outstanding in the genre, these books are sure to bring even the most indifferent young reader into the worlds of history, geography, and architecture.

"One of the ten best non-fiction series for young readers."
- Booklist


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Gr 4-10-The cover proclaims this a "story of hard times, tough people and the taming of a wild river." And that's exactly what it is-as well as an epic tale of adventure and danger. In bringing to life the history of this remarkable feat of modern engineering, Mann notes that at times from March 11, 1931, to February 29, 1936, more than 5000 men worked on the dam, often risking and sometimes losing their lives. Readers meet people like Frank Crowe, the obsessive superintendent of construction, who was far more interested in finishing the job quickly than in the health and safety of his workers. Insets give brief first-person accounts by workers and their families. Witschonke's illustrations are evocative of the period and add to the drama while archival photographs record activities and life in the nearby evolving communities of "Ragtown" and Boulder City. A labeled double gatefold shows the dam site in 1934, at the height of activity. There is definitely enough here to write a research paper, and plenty to keep readers interested while they're doing it. A wonderfully readable, well-organized book filled with fascinating detail. 

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About the author (2001)

Elizabeth Mann has written nine Wonders of the World books, an award-winning series. She is former teacher in New York, holds an M.S.E. and is cofounder of Mikaya Press.

Alan Witschonke is the illustrator of four Wonders of the World books: The Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, The Great Wall and Hoover Dam.

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