I completely loved this book. I learned so much. I fancy myself a sort of history buff. Many times when people talk about something of historical significance, I feel internally, that I already know most of what they are talking about. However there are distinct exceptions. When I read books like this I feel like a true amateur! I don't mean that in a bad way whatsoever. David McCullough is really an excellent author.
I took some time to read the most critical reviews. Most of the critical reviews that had any actual content stated the book was too long and too detailed. I can respect that viewpoint. Therefore it is clearly a matter of taste. The reasons that others are critical are the reasons I love this book and others of this nature.
David McCullogh will go into a long relevant digression on a subject that is completely related. In this case he does this about another engineer named Mr. Eads, who built a bridge over the Mississippi at Saint Louis...
I mostly enjoyed this book, especially the first quarter and the last quarter. It is meticulously researched and as always, McCullough does a great job putting you in to the time period he is documenting.
In this case McCullough takes us back to 19th century New York City, comparing and contrasting Manhattan and Brooklyn. He explains the initial impetus for a bridge over the East River to connect the 2 cities, how it would affect the lifestyles and economies of both cities.
The book is covering an exciting time in America when large engineering projects were being accomplished which would lay an infrastructure which made the 20th century economy possible. He covers other bridge builders and their projects notably the Eads bridge over the Mississippi.
As a lot of people know the Roebling family sacrifices made the Brooklyn bridge possible. Mccullough covers the life of German born Joeseph Roebling an educated engineer who emigrated to Pennsylvania...
The beauty of this book is DM's comprehension of New York and America in the 19th century after the conclusion of the War Between the States. It was a time and place of boundless energy and ambition; a time of endless building and progress and advancement; a time that celebrated and promoted the boundless idea 'America!' as never before or since.
The building of 'The Great Bridge' is a fascinating story. It's an epic story of ambition, will, political warfare, personal betrayal, enormous personal sacrifice, petty thievery, but above all the great shared vision of progress and good that brought The Brooklyn Bridge into being.
Not only that, there are many sections of the book in which the author describes scenes and vistas that are pure and unanticipated poetry. It's not forced or intended to be 'poetry'; it simply is, period. It is obvious that DM loved writing the book. God, to feel and to write as he has done here!
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