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Staff Picks: “1919: The Year That Changed America”

1919 was a big year for the United States of America. The country experienced several earth-shattering events in only twelve months time:

The Great Molasses Flood.
The Black Sox Scandal.
The First Red Scare.
Labor Movement Strikes.
Suffrage.
Red Summer.
Prohibition.

Each of these events would have been monumental in isolation. In reality, they intersected together, creating and reflecting waves of social, cultural, and political change that are still being felt today.

In this well-researched informational book, historian Martin W. Sandler offers context and background for young readers through an engaging and accessible narrative. Vivid writing and a thoughtfully curated collection of primary sources make this feel more like an immersive museum exhibit than a hefty work of nonfiction. 

Much care is taken to reflect the multiple layers of each complex issue, spotlighting perspectives that have often been ignored, underlooked, and erased in traditional U.S. history textbooks. Timelines and “100 years later” segments connect the dots between past and present, encouraging readers to acknowledge the significance of each moment—and to consider how the events, questions, and challenges of 1919 are still relevant today.

1919: The Year That Changed America was originally written for young people, but this National Book Award-winning book has the potential to be appreciated by readers of all ages. Check it out at the Library today.

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