10" x 10"
48 pages, Color
The story of how a jungle was conquered and the world made smaller.
It seemed so simple. Panama was less than fifty miles wide. How difficult could it be to build a canal across it?
Tragically difficult. Panama was a disease-ridden death trap. Its mountainous rain forest was a challenge to the most brilliant engineers. Its oppressive heat exhausted the hardiest workers.
Somehow the Panama Canal was built. Engineers found ways to cut through the rain forest. Medical visionaries conquered the diseases. Workers endured the jungle.
Yet side by side with genius and selfless heroism were broken treaties, the domination of a small nation by a large one, and tens of thousands of black West Indian workers forced to live in second-rate, segregated conditions. This, too, is the story of the Panama Canal.
The Panama Canal captures the spirit of an age when no task was thought impossible, and no price too high to pay.
Notable Children's Book in the Field of Social Studies for 1999
National Council for the Social Studies and The Children's Book Council
A Top Choice Book for 1999
"This well-written and brightly illustrated title features a wealth of information presented in a clear and friendly manner...This title will appeal to middle schoolers both as an exciting read and useful homework title. Recommended."
Catholic Library World
"A concrete, engaging narrative on another of the man-made wonders of the world...Rangel's lavish full-color illustrations capture the immense scale of the canal's construction, from the damming of the Chagres River to the construction of the locks on a four-page fold-out spread. Mann and Rangel have created an exceptional resource for the classroom, as well as an epic piece of storytelling."
"A solid, approachable introduction to the often amazing story of the Panama Canal...The construction of the canal, with its locks and dams, is not an easy story to relate. However, the author manages to render the technical language in the simplest of terms."
School Library Journal
"From the author of The Roman Colosseum and other books in The Wonders of the World series comes a dynamic introduction to the building of the Panama Canal...The author does not gloss over the many worker deaths and the poor living conditions and wages afforded the majority of the workers who were blacks from the Caribbean islands of Barbados and Jamaica. Lush full-page paintings by Fernando Rangel convey a genuine sense of the tropical jungle as well as the building of the canal...This will serve well both as recreational reading and as material for report writers."