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Did you ever wonder what life was like in America pre-civil war? Isabella Bird is a young Englishwoman traveling in the north-eastern United States and Canada in the 1850s. The book is packed with information - every detail of life, traveling, education, industry, medicine, shopping, entertainment, etc. It is written almost textbook style - no character development - she barely mentions traveling companions - but her opinion is in every page. There is nothing politically correct about her, but intelligent, humorous, and observant - a truly great informative read!