THE American of to-day needs to know much concerning the present conditions of his country and the prospects of its future. Histories of his people, statistics such as the current reports afford, and special monographs, are valuable to him who has the time to use them, but the characteristic American citizen is a very busy man, and he is often deterred from inquiries which would inform him as to the state of the commonwealth by the amount of labor involved in the task of consulting a multitude of books. What he needs, as the publishers of these volumes believe, is to have the America of to-day unrolled before him like a map, in order that he may survey its natural features, its achievements, and the position which it has attained among the nations. Such a presentation demands that the results of many investigations be put in convenient order, and that this work be done by writers who are recognized authorities in the various subjects.
In a book of this nature, it is obvious that there should be brought to the attention of the reader first those matters which relate to the geographic, climatal, soil, and mineral conditions of the realm; he will thus obtain an idea of the stage on which he is to play his part; next he should be shown the actual station of those employments and other activities which make up our national life. As these tasks have been executed in this work, it is believed that it affords a better means for a clear understanding as to the position of the American citizen of to-day than is elsewhere to be found.
The reader can see at a glance the development and status of American industry and manufactures in the clear and succinct