It was world-famous sculptor Gutzon Borglum's dream to carve sixty-foot-high likenesses of four presidents on a granite cliff in South Dakota.
Does that sound like a wacky idea? Many at the time thought so.
Borglum faced a lot of opposition and problems at every turn; the blasting and carving carried out through the years of the Great Depression when funding for anything was hard to come by. Yet Mount Rushmore now draws almost three million visitors to the Black Hills every year.
This is an entertaining chronicle of one man's magnificent obsession, which even today sparks controversy.
Gr 3-6--This addition to the series explains the origins of Mount Rushmore. Kelley provides a history of the region, including its importance to the Sioux, who called it Paha Sapa, their sacred lands. Settlers moved into the area in the 1870s looking for gold, and eventually the U.S. government forced the Sioux to give up their land. By the 1920s, the state of South Dakota was looking for ways to attract tourists and decided a huge sculpture in the Black Hills was the key. Renowned sculptor Gutzon Borglum was hired to carve the faces of four presidents: a huge--and costly--engineering feat that was not without controversy. Kelley addresses these topics through 10 enlightening but concise chapters with more than 100 illustrations, as well as informative sidebars. VERDICT A strong addition to history collections for its inclusion of Native American history and the author's willingness to address the controversial legacy of this landmark.--Patricia Ann Owens, formerly with Illinois Eastern Community College, Mt. CarmelCopyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.