Publisher: Schwartz & Wade
Release Date: March 8, 2016
1860 New York City was a mess of crowds, garbage, and sewage. The streets were crowded and Alfred Ely Beach had an idea. Using an idea that was being used for banks, Beach had an idea to create a pneumatic (fan-powered) underground subway. With a lot of conniving and a few lies, Beach's construction crew began to dig. It opened on February 26, 1870, but the world wasn't quite ready for underground trains.
It's weird, but I have actually read four books that have mentioned or featured Beach's pneumatic subway. I find it fascinating how some people seem to be born in the wrong era, for surely if Beach had been inventing things just twenty years later, enabled by some of the other inventions of the era, he would have had a very successful year. As it stands, he is one of those inventors who have nearly been lost to the annals of time. Which is why I love this book so much. Not only is the story interesting, but the way it is told and illustrated draw in readers both young and old. I am continually amazed by the picture book biographies that have come out in the past year or two.