The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge

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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.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
May 31, 2007
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Pages
608
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ISBN
9780743218313
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / 19th Century
History / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA)
Technology & Engineering / Civil / Bridges
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The #1 bestseller that tells the remarkable story of the generations of American artists, writers, and doctors who traveled to Paris, the intellectual, scientific, and artistic capital of the western world, fell in love with the city and its people, and changed America through what they learned, told by America’s master historian, David McCullough.

Not all pioneers went west.

In The Greater Journey, David McCullough tells the enthralling, inspiring—and until now, untold—story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, and others who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, hungry to learn and to excel in their work. What they achieved would profoundly alter American history.

Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in America, was one of this intrepid band. Another was Charles Sumner, whose encounters with black students at the Sorbonne inspired him to become the most powerful voice for abolition in the US Senate. Friends James Fenimore Cooper and Samuel F. B. Morse worked unrelentingly every day in Paris, Morse not only painting what would be his masterpiece, but also bringing home his momentous idea for the telegraph. Harriet Beecher Stowe traveled to Paris to escape the controversy generated by her book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Three of the greatest American artists ever—sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, painters Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent—flourished in Paris, inspired by French masters.

Almost forgotten today, the heroic American ambassador Elihu Washburne bravely remained at his post through the Franco-Prussian War, the long Siege of Paris, and the nightmare of the Commune. His vivid diary account of the starvation and suffering endured by the people of Paris is published here for the first time.

Telling their stories with power and intimacy, McCullough brings us into the lives of remarkable men and women who, in Saint-Gaudens’ phrase, longed “to soar into the blue.
New York City boasts more spectacular bridges than any other city in the world. From the Gothic stone arches and gossamer steel webbing of the Brooklyn Bridge (perhaps the greatest engineering achievement of the 19th century), to the Verrazano-Narrows — the world's longest suspension bridge when completed in 1964 — more than 75 bridges span the city's waterways. This book is a stirring text-and-picture tribute to these awe-inspiring structures.
Beginning with Dutch New Amsterdam and continuing to the modern era and the achievements of legendary bridge builder Robert Moses, The Bridges of New York covers nearly 300 years of New York history and a century of accomplishments in modern engineering. At the time of construction, many of the bridges were considered breakthroughs in bridge-building technology.
Grouped according to geography and economics — two prime considerations facing bridge engineers — the spans are described in a highly readable text that explains the design principles of cantilever, swing, bascule, and many other bridge types. Over 150 archival engravings and contemporary photographs document the splendor of such remarkable bridges as the Brooklyn, George Washington, Bronx-Whitestone, Manhattan, Queensboro, Triborough, and dozens of smaller spans.
A section on bridge maintenance, a glossary, and charts noting each bridge's location, length, height, and other features complete this pictorial treasury — sure to delight engineering and architecture enthusiasts as well as anyone who has ever been astonished by the extraordinary scale and grandeur of New York's bridges.
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