How the Mason-Dixon Line Settled a Family Feud and Divided a Nation

About the Book

Prison, pirates, stars, cut­ting-edge sci­en­tif­ic tech­nol­o­gy, and a mas­sacre are only some
of the tales that are part of the sto­ry of the Mason-Dixon Line.


 “[A] rich­ly lay­ered, thor­ough­ly researched his­to­ry of the Mason-Dixon Line.… Walk­er reveals a fas­ci­nat­ing and com­pli­cat­ed his­to­ry of explo­ration, fam­i­ly feuds, per­se­cu­tion, ide­o­log­i­cal con­flicts, sci­en­tif­ic exper­i­men­ta­tion and advance­ment, and the forg­ing of a nation­al iden­ti­ty. … A thought­ful, insight­ful, chal­leng­ing and exten­sive­ly researched chron­i­cle of Unit­ed States his­to­ry and the shap­ing of nation­al iden­ti­ty from a unique per­spec­tive.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

“Walker’s account, sup­ple­ment­ed with numer­ous illus­tra­tions and maps, of the con­flicts along the dis­put­ed bound­ary and Mason and Dixon’s inno­v­a­tive meth­ods of sci­en­tif­ic sur­vey­ing is com­pre­hen­sive and objec­tive … Her empha­sis on the sur­vey pro­vides a per­spec­tive miss­ing in titles such as John C. Davenport’s “The Mason-Dixon Line,” which focus­es on the line’s polit­i­cal and mil­i­tary role in the ante­bel­lum slav­ery debate and Civ­il War and the post­war cul­tur­al divi­sion between North and South. … [The top­ic’s] impor­tance in Amer­i­can his­to­ry makes this book a strong report choice about the bound­aries that shaped our nation or sci­ence in ear­ly Amer­i­ca.” (School Library Jour­nal)

“This thor­ough­ly researched account of the Mason–Dixon Line encom­pass­es a broad span of time and place, from six­teenth-cen­tu­ry Eng­land to twen­ti­eth-cen­tu­ry Amer­i­ca. … Walker’s lat­est book offers a good deal of per­ti­nent infor­ma­tion on the sub­ject at hand, as well as some inter­est­ing side­lights on Amer­i­can his­to­ry.” (Book­list)

“A use­ful, infor­ma­tion­al text with strong sci­ence and math con­nec­tions for mid­dle and high school and pub­lic libraries.” (VOYA)

“In char­ac­ter­is­tic fash­ion, Walk­er delves deeply into her top­ic, pro­vid­ing metic­u­lous detail not only about sur­vey­ing but also about colo­nial-era sociopol­i­tics. She ends with a dis­cus­sion of the cul­tur­al rel­e­vance of the Mason-Dixon Line to the North and the South, and mod­ern-day inter­est in the preser­va­tion of its his­to­ry. … The immer­sive sto­ry may inspire the next gen­er­a­tion of geo­g­ra­phers, car­tog­ra­phers, and astronomers.” (The Horn Book)

“Sci­en­tif­ic and math­e­mat­i­cal con­cepts are clear­ly pre­sent­ed and well-defined.” (Pub­lish­ers Week­ly)

“Many his­to­ry books for youth gloss over sci­ence and math in favor of a strict­ly human-inter­est approach, but Walk­er embraces the fields and walks read­ers through both the the­o­ry behind the cal­cu­la­tions and the exhaust­ing (and expen­sive) field­work it took to get results. Plen­ty of maps and dia­grams sup­port the text, and even math-resis­tant read­ers may find them­selves learn­ing more than they expect­ed. The most appre­cia­tive audi­ence, though, will be the kids who doo­dle in their note­books through his­to­ry class, just wait­ing for the bell to ring for math.” (Bul­letin of the Cen­ter for Chil­dren’s Books)


writ­ten by Sal­ly M. Walker
Can­dlewick Press, Mar 2014
hard­cov­er: 978–0763656126
paper­back: 978–0763673314
208 pages, ages 10 and up

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