Much of history can be learned through well-written and well-researched fiction. I sometimes prefer it if the subject is disturbing or painful because it lends the information some distance not available in non-fiction. Maybe this is avoidance initially, but it has often given me the opportunity to explore a topic before moving on to further research. Orphan Train covers two sides of the social welfare coin in two different times, neither of which is much explored in school. The orphan trains which ran from 1854 to 1929 were never touched on in any of my history classes and neither they nor the current foster care system was addressed in my Social Problems class in high school. Kline’s book offered me an initial view into both systems, gave me much to think about, and packaged it all in sound literary style.
This book is well worth reading for all these reasons.