Friday, January 9, 2015

Boundaries: How the Mason-Dixon Line settled a Family Feud & divided a Nation by Sally M. Walker [Review]

ISBN: 9780763656126
I anticipated Boundaries to be a middle-school non-fiction read focusing on the Mason-Dixon Line and it's role in the War Between the States (Civil War) in the United States. That is not the case.  I found Boundaries to be a somewhat dull read that most likely will best benefit students in high school engaged in a project directed by a teacher who desires to bring extra information into the study of American history.

However, the author writes beautifully!  I can see this as a good book for homeschool or classroom studies to be read aloud and discussed. A teacher reading this aloud (the text flows beautifully) and then working her students through the somewhat tedious material that is included (due to the scientific nature of surveying) can bring to her students a subject that is different and encompassing several areas of study all in one interesting endeavor.

Boundaries covers a period from the early colonization days of America and through the Civil War era. Early settlers and recipients of land grants, the families of William Penn and Cecil Calvert held vastly different religious beliefs - Catholic and Protestant.

In later years the Mason-Dixon Line was considered a demarcation between areas of Slavery and Non-Slavery.

In the book, Boundaries, the science behind surveying the land for the boundary of lands possessed by Penn and Calvert is not what one would expect in a "history" book and I perceive it as a bit too detailed for this book. However, touching on the subject brings depth and realism to the historical context.

I found it interesting that the Mason-Dixon line has a life prior to it's utilization during the Civil War. I found the history of the area now known as Pennsylvania and Maryland interesting. Messrs. Mason and Dixon undertook a massive task to survey this area and did it well.

The author has done a tremendous amount of research. While I did not find the book especially to my liking, I do believe it will serve a purpose in the education of older middle school students and high school students when in a directed study by a teacher.
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Candlewick Press on behalf of the author for the purpose of a review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation for this review.


  1. I enjoy non fiction history books so I will have to check this one out. Thanks! Visiting from Booknificent.

  2. I will have to check this out. Thanks

  3. Appreciate your honest review, and despite it not being your cup of tea, I'm finding myself fascinated and really wanting to read it! Thanks for sharing it at Booknificent Thursday this week!


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