Book review by
Peter Lewis, Common Sense Media
Mill Book Poster Image
Learn how, where, and why a mill worked.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this story has a Dickensian atmosphere and explains lucidly how a mill worked -- and why.

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What's the story?

David Macaulay stands alone in his descriptive approach to the architecture that surrounds us. MILL is typical of his imaginative and informative approach, as well as his glorious draftsmanship. The large-scale books are also intimate, and readers will leave these pages with not only an understanding of mill life but also a caring appreciation of the people involved.


Is it any good?

David Macaulay's architectural drawings have great personality and beauty, and they are models of lucidity; the same can be said for his prose. Having once read this book, never will you pass an old New England mill without going to take a look at the headrace, or appreciating why it has so many windows, or how come it now houses a software company and a few fancy condos rather than bobbins and spindles.

The combination of illustrations and clear text makes the workings of a power train or a fly-ball governor seem obvious. Macaulay's books are history at its fullest, with threads of architecture, society, economics, politics, and geography all brought together to convey a supple portrait of a time and place.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the history surrounding mills. What details surprised you? Would you enjoy working in a mill? If you live in an area with surviving mill buildings, visit them and take a look at how they're used now.

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