Cyrus Field's Big Dream cover PRAISE FOR CYRUS FIELD'S BIG DREAM
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a Junior Library Guild Selection 
Kirkus Reviews: "The relentless persistence of one man resulted in one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th century and the transformation of international communication. … Making extensive use of primary sources, Cowan admiringly chronicles how… Field endured delays and failed attempts, millions of dollars lost, suspected sabotage, technological problems, and public accusations of fraud and treason. Her well-paced, vivid account makes for a read that is at times gripping. … An inspiring portrait of a man with a dream and his steadfast determination to achieve it." Read the full review.
Booklist: "Long before email and texting, Cyrus Field understood the value of instant communication. When the paper merchant tycoon learned in 1854 about an opportunity to invest in the first transatlantic telegraph cable, which would reduce message delivery between Europe and North America from weeks to minutes, he couldn’t resist. This detailed biography, filled with archival reproductions, chronicles Field’s rise from a penniless paper mill worker to one of the richest men in New York City. An interesting chapter on his hiatus from his paper company describes an adventure through South America with then budding artist Frederic Church. The bulk of the text focuses on Field’s 12-year endeavor to create a telegraph company, acquire investors, and procure 2,000 miles of cable, and the tension-filled methods of laying it. Cowan relates the scientific and historical events that shaped the process. While the topic seems most applicable to STEM readers, there is much for young entrepreneurs to learn. The project failed multiple times, but Field’s incessant determination finally succeeded with a telegraph from Queen Victoria to President Andrew Johnson." — Angela Leeper "Cyrus Field didn’t know the first thing about telegraphs when he retired from running a successful paper mill in 1853. But when his “big dream” took hold, there was no stopping him. He made three attempts to lay a cable across the Atlantic (watching borrowed funds disappear and the cheers of crowds turn into taunts) before a fourth succeeded. Through photos, diagrams, and clear explanations, the author describes the complicated business of securing thousands of miles of cable, transferring it onto ships, and reeling it out onto the ocean floor without snapping it. All the while, the ability to transmit a signal – from one end of the cable to the other – had to be maintained. Cowan uses the twisting and straining of the cable to mirror the twists of history and politics, and the almost unbearable strain on Field himself. Added to the rousing good story is the copious back matter (author’s note, timeline, source notes, selected bibliography, and a list of additional books, videos, and websites to consult for further information). This is nonfiction for young adult readers at its best."
School Library Connection: "Field's...diligence and perseverance shine brightly, and these attributes make this story a winner. (His) uncanny ability to continually turn failure around and his constant quest for knowledge teach readers a valuable lesson about not giving up. Hand this book to your kids who have big dreams so they can experience first-hand the endless possibilities of making those dreams come true."
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