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The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge (original 1972; edition 1983)

by David McCullough

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1,422295,312 (4.27)46
Member:drbowser
Title:The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge
Authors:David McCullough
Info:Simon & Schuster (1983), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 562 pages
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The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough (1972)

  1. 10
    Isambard Kingdom Brunel: Engineering Knight-Errant by Adrian Vaughan (John_Vaughan)
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    Conquering Gotham : a Gilded Age epic : the construction of Penn Station and its tunnels by Jill Jonnes (rakerman)
    rakerman: Conquering Gotham tells the story of the PRR tunnels under the North River and (to a lesser extent) the LIRR tunnels under the East River. The Great Bridge tells the story of the bridge over the East River. Although the bridge is finished before the tunnels begin, they touch on similar industrial history and a similar period in New York's history. The Great Bridge goes into more detail about the underwater work (the Brooklyn Bridge caissons) than Conquering Gotham does.… (more)
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    Engineers of Dreams: Great Bridge Builders and the Spanning of America by Henry Petroski (oregonobsessionz)
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Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
Epic retelling of the construction of what at its time was an unprecedented feat of civil engineering. McCullough presents technical details in an accessible manner while also exploring the New York City and the Brooklyn of the period, including the political considerations which hampered progress on the project. More than anything, though, the book is the story of the three individuals who brought the project to fulfillment.
The original plans were laid by John Roebling, a German-born wire manufacturer whose genius led him to design and build multiple suspension bridges. But early in the construction process, a workplace accident cost him the toes of one foot. Tetanus set in, and he died a terrible death.
Upon John's death, his son (Washington Roebling) was promoted to replace him as Principle Engineer. Many think that his father had planned to eventually put his son (an engineering graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) in charge all along. But the younger Roebling became a housebound invalid following a bad experience of decompression sickness. Nevertheless, he continued to manage the construction from his sickroom.
Washington's wife, Emily Roebling, provided invaluable assistance in mediating between him, his assistant engineers, and the Board of Directors. ( )
  dickmanikowski | Jun 6, 2015 |
The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge
The making of the Brooklyn Bridge. Interesting story of how this all came about, who was involved and in what capacity.
Liked this book a lot for all that was involved in it and learning of the builders other works.

I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device). ( )
  jbarr5 | Apr 23, 2015 |
Incredible story told in classic McCullough style! ( )
  Scarchin | Feb 25, 2015 |
David McCullough's richly detailed account of the inception and building of the bridge is an expertly compiled history.

Not only does the reader learn what the Bridge meant to New York but also, we experienced the history and the politics around it.

McCullough takes his readers through the difficulty in engineering the project. John Roebling and his Brooklyn Bridge team had to get Albany's blessing and then Congress had to approve the project since they were concerned that it might affect the navigation of the East River and the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

As the building went along, McCullough also takes his readers through newspaper accounts praising the project and we see Mark Twain in the group expressing his support.

Before the Bridge, New York City was landlocked. The only way to reach Brooklyn was the ferries which could be dangerous in rough weather and with navigating the busy East River.

We see a man with a vision in John Roebling. When age and ill health prevented his seeing his dream to conclusion, his son, Washington Roebling took over as the Chief Engineer.

This history unfolds like a tv documentary and the author takes his readers through the corruption and patronage of Boss Tweed and his gang.

This is a sweeping saga that is among the wonders of the world and sharing it as I did recently, made me feel I was a small part of its ongoing legend. ( )
  mikedraper | Nov 15, 2014 |
This was a really interesting book; who knew it was so hard to build the Brooklyn Bridge? Or that it took so long? There's a lot of fascinating history here and some great information about the engineering challenges. McCullough manages the transitions between politics and economics, between the personal lives of the leaders and the shenanigans of Tammany Hall, between Brooklyn and St Louis, gracefully. I especially enjoyed the vivid descriptions of working in the caissons, and of the response of the people of Brooklyn when the bridge was open. ( )
  TerriBooks | Feb 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
It so happens that the work which is likely to be our most durable monument, and to convey some knowledge of us to the most remote posterity, is a work of bare utility; not a shrine, not a fortress, not a palace, but a bridge.- Montgomery Schuyler in Harper's Weekly, May 24, 1883
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For my mother and father
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They met at his request on at least six different occasions, beginning in February 1869.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 067145711X, Paperback)

In the 19th century, the Brooklyn Bridge was viewed as the greatest engineering feat of mankind. The Roeblings--father and son--toiled for decades, fighting competitors, corrupt politicians, and the laws of nature to fabricate a bridge which, after 100 years, still provides one of the major avenues of access to one of the world's busiest cities--as compared to many bridges built at the same time which collapsed within decades or even years. It is refreshing to read such a magnificent story of real architecture and engineering in an era where these words refer to tiny bits and bytes that inspire awe only in their abstract consequences, and not in their tangible physical magnificence.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:11 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A detailed account of the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge providing background on its engineering history as well as the political and social climate of the late-nineteenth century.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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