Strong and Steady by Horatio Alger, Jr
I picked up Strong and Steady by Horatio Alger, Jr. (New York Book Company, 1910) at an antique store in Andersonville due to how so totally earnest and silly it looked. And I was not disappointed.
Sure enough, this is a book for young kids in the early 20th century that’s all about Doing The Right Things. Being noble and strong and a good little boy destined to grow into a good man. We follow Walter, the son of a rich man, who suddenly becomes a poor orphan. He travels around and has adventures trying to make it for himself, juxtaposed rather blatantly with other folks who are not so upstanding as he. There is no complexity in this book, but it’s well-written and the adventures are legitimately interesting.
Here’s Walter as a (creepy looking) book seller, a job he succeeds at later on. (It also doubles as a sneaky meta-advertisement for this book itself, I believe.)
And there’s some cool interior art too:
This book is part of a series, so while it does have a satisfactory conclusion on its own, it also keeps going – the adventure is never over in Walter’s life. I’d like to read more, but not enough to like, go and find ’em on eBay or whatever. Fun book though.