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Editor’s Note

“A Modern Marvel...”

With verve & vitality, McCullough tells the amazing story of a modern marvel. From dangerous working conditions to corrupt bargains to heroic feats, this is the story of how a bridge came to symbolize New York.
Niree N.
Scribd Editor
The dramatic and enthralling story of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, the world’s longest suspension bridge at the time, a tale of greed, corruption, and obstruction but also of optimism, heroism, and determination, told by master historian David McCullough.

This monumental book is the enthralling story of one of the greatest events in our nation’s history, during the Age of Optimism—a period when Americans were convinced in their hearts that all things were possible.

In the years around 1870, when the project was first undertaken, the concept of building an unprecedented bridge to span the East River between the great cities of Manhattan and Brooklyn required a vision and determination comparable to that which went into the building of the great cathedrals. Throughout the fourteen years of its construction, the odds against the successful completion of the bridge seemed staggering. Bodies were crushed and broken, lives lost, political empires fell, and surges of public emotion constantly threatened the project. But this is not merely the saga of an engineering miracle; it is a sweeping narrative of the social climate of the time and of the heroes and rascals who had a hand in either constructing or exploiting the surpassing enterprise.

Topics: New York City, Construction, Brooklyn, Architecture, Inspirational, Politics, Epic, Corruption, Creative Nonfiction, American History, Design, Exciting, and Gilded Age

Published: Simon & Schuster on May 31, 2007
ISBN: 9780743218313
List price: $13.99
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I must say that if David McCullough had written before I was in school, I might have ended up a history major instead of a math major. His style and manner of writing makes his books not only informative, but a pleasure to read, as well.read more
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One of the finest books I've ever read, combining history, engineering, politics, and biography into a fascnating mix of characters and place. Just a great read, and one you won't forget. Inspirational, enlightening, and technical without being inaccessible. I've met the author, and he's a fine gracious man who speaks with a true love of American history.read more
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Makes you want to be an engineer.read more
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Reviews

I must say that if David McCullough had written before I was in school, I might have ended up a history major instead of a math major. His style and manner of writing makes his books not only informative, but a pleasure to read, as well.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
One of the finest books I've ever read, combining history, engineering, politics, and biography into a fascnating mix of characters and place. Just a great read, and one you won't forget. Inspirational, enlightening, and technical without being inaccessible. I've met the author, and he's a fine gracious man who speaks with a true love of American history.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Makes you want to be an engineer.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Overall, very good; the need to move between the technical aspects and the political aspects of the creation of the bridge create some real challenges for the reader, however, since the narrative may move from one to the other for a hundred or more pages before returning. Does not have the smooth, chronological feel that "John Adams" had. The technical aspects are highly detailed, yet were still hard to imagine.
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While I enjoyed the people parts of the story, I became bogged down in the engineering of the bridge parts, may try to finish it up with the book so I can skip over the parts of little interest to me.
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It is not easy to build bridges.

Let me bring up a local case, of a bridge between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Canada, has led to years of heartache, political opposition from stubborn 80-year old billionaires, controversial political deals with the devil, and years of time spent. And the thing hasn't even been built yet.

McCullough covers not only the political side of Bridge-building, but the technical side well. This is arguably his most famous book, and with good reason. He makes the dullest of technical details shine. The obscure historical characters of a century past are given a new luster. The great bridge is almost a natural formation in the city now, like the Hudson River, but now the reader is taken back to the triumphal opening, where president Chester Arthur shook the hand of the mayor of Brooklyn, and P. T. Barnum sent a parade of elephants across, a show of durability that is uniquely American.

Excellent stuff. McCullough is a phenomenal narrative historian and biographer, and it's good to revisit him again.
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