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Great Wheel

Great Wheel

by Robert Lawson
Publisher: Walker and Company
Trade Paperback, 180 pages
Current Retail Price: $7.95
"Your fortune lies to the west. Keep your face to the sunset . . . and one day you'll ride the greatest wheel in all the world."

When Aunt Honora reads this fortune in his tea leaves, Conn Kilroy knows he is destined for greater things than his small Irish village can offer. A letter from his uncle Michael in America offering Conn a partnership in his New York contracting company sets Conn on his western adventure. Just a few short months later, Conn's uncle Patrick lures him even farther west to Chicago, where they join the hardworking crew building what some call Ferris's Folly—the first Ferris wheel, which was to be the showpiece of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. This descriptive and engrossing story captures the spirit of the American industrial era—the risk and hard labor and the moments of glory.

"[This] book is in fact the biography of the first Ferris wheel. . .It was the moon shot of its time. . .[T]he twentieth century began in Chicago at the World's Columbian Exposition. An electric company was foretold in this "White City," blazing brighter at midnight than at noon. The fairgrounds and the approach . . . covered more than six hundred acres. It was threaded with gondola canals flowing from Lake Michigan: an ideal world of classical temples picked out in Edison's lightbulbs. Nothing could have that impact today. People fainted from the sheer grandeur and beauty of the fair."
—Richard Peck, from the foreword
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