Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In Dreamers and Doers: Inventors Who Changed Our World, Norman Richards profiles four honorees from the National Inventors Hall of Fame: Robert Goddard, Charles Goodyear, Thomas Edison, and George Eastman. The book begins with an introduction acknowledging the range of inventions that have bettered the lives of Americans and introducing the book’s central theme: Each inventor was both a dreamer and a doer who persisted in the face of discouragement and failure. The introduction briefly describes the National Inventors Hall of Fame, instituted in 1973 by the National Council of Patent Law Associations and the Patent and Trademark Office of the Department of Commerce; it is followed by a list of the fifty-three individuals inducted as of 1984.

Because Richards divides the book into four sections of about thirty-five pages each, it can do no more than sketch the highlights and major tribulations of each inventor’s career; the four men never come alive as individuals. Each section con-tains from four to seven pages of black-and-white illustrations, both sketches and photographs, of the inventors, their laboratories, and various inventions or experiments. These illustrations enhance the book’s readability by breaking up blocks of text, but they do little to demonstrate how the various inventions operated.

For each inventor, Richards provides a brief overview of that individual’s dream and a hint of the travails that will be...

(The entire section is 476 words.)