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Engineers of Dreams: Great Bridge Builders and the Spanning of America
Petroski reveals the science and engineering--not to mention the politics, egotism, and sheer magic--behind America's great bridges, particularly those constructed during the great bridge-building era starting in the 1870s and continuing through the 1930s. It is the story of the men and women who built the St. Louis, the George Washington, and the Golden Gate bridges, drawing not only on their mastery of numbers but on their gifts for persuasion and self-promotion. It is an account of triumphs and ignominious disasters (including the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which literally twisted itself apart in a high wind). And throughout this grandly engaging book, Petroski lets us see how bridges became the "symbols and souls" of our civilization, as well as testaments to their builders' vision, ingenuity, and perseverance.
"Seamlessly linked...With astonishing scope and generosity of view, Mr. Petroski places the tradition of American bridge-building in perspective."--New York Times Book Review
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An exhilarating saga of ingenuity and sheer determination, this chronicle of the great era of American bridge building intersects with the time of technological innovation, the transformation of the U.S. into an industrial power and the birth of modern civil engineering. Duke engineering professor Petroski (The Pencil) focuses on the dreams, foibles, successes and failures of five engineers. James Eads designed the St. Louis Bridge (1874) across the Mississippi. Theodore Cooper pioneered steel railway bridges, but the 1907 collapse of his cantilevered Quebec Bridge altered the course of bridge development. Swiss-born Othmar Ammann left two New York landmarks, the George Washington Bridge (1932) across the Hudson River and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge (1964). Moravian-born Gustav Lindenthal designed bridges in Pittsburgh in the 1880s and spanned New York's East River with the Hell Gate Bridge (1916). David Steinman engineered Michigan's Mackinac Bridge (1953) as well as bridges in California, Oregon and Maine. Illustrations. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved