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Golden Gate: The Life and Times of…
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Golden Gate: The Life and Times of America's Greatest Bridge (2010)

by Kevin Starr

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Professor Starr's brief consideration of the landmarks background, history, and subsequent role in the Bay area's development and the nation's imagination is concise and elegant. His thematic approach allows him to avoid a deadening amount of detail without sliding into glibness. Starr's ability to refine these themes keeps the perspective fresh and interesting. Contrary to other reviewers, I did not find the bridge to elevated "greatest" status at the expense of other similar iconic landmarks. For instance, he notes that the Golden Gate has yet to elicit the artistic response of the Brooklyn Bridge and that Verranzo Narrows Bridge ultimately took away the Golden Gate's claim to be the longest single span suspension bridge. That said, it remains clear the Golden Gate appropriately has a special place in the author's affections.
My experience with this book has reinforced a pre-existing interest in his California Dream series that perhaps will lead me to pursue.
I will echo a complaint registered by other reviewers. A map is desperately needed for readers that lack an intimate knowledge of the Bay area., . ( )
  pitjrw | Sep 4, 2011 |
Starr does his usual excellent job of placing this bridge into historic, geographic, and cultural contexts. The prose is often beautiful and engaging, but sometimes over-reaching and forced. The story could have stood on its own merits, and did not really need to be forced into a thesis that this represents the "greatest" bridge. A lot of interesting points are made toward that thesis, but ultimately it is not an objective question and the result comes across a bit stilted. Still, many fascinating details about the bridge eloquently laid out - fans of the bridge (and Starr) will no doubt come away enriched. ( )
  williwhy | Feb 2, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Not bad for a quick guide. The Golden Gate Bridge is fascinating enough to merit a much more in depth book, but Starr's book is plenty good for a quick refresher before a trip to San Francisco. There's enough in here that you'll be able to impress your friends and family with trivia as you take an open-topped bus trip over the span -- including the Golden Gate was nearly painted in stripes to increase visibility. In the end, "International Orange" proved to be a much better choice. ( )
  bwsf93 | Jan 12, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Kevin Starr does an excellent job in framing this great American icon into a wonderful interdisciplinary context.. His descriptions, both detailed and poetic, serve to clearly convey a wonderful understanding and an appreciation of the development of this engineering wonder. I found his categorical (Vision, Politics, Money, Design, etc.) organization through his Table of Contents to be very useful in my understanding of the various aspects of the bridges history. The color photos were also very helpful. A descriptive map would have also been useful. I'm an engineer turned high school teacher and I often teach an Orientation to Engineering class through a study of bridge design. This a work I will recommend highly to my students. I also strongly recommend it to anyone interested in history, specifically the history of California or of Technology and Engineering. It truly is a story of the drama of human achievement. ( )
  stevetempo | Nov 26, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A concise but far ranging history of the Golden Gate and the iconic bridge built over it. I would have liked to see more photos of the bridge, esp. during construction, which would have made the descriptions easier to understand. ( )
  FionaCat | Nov 23, 2010 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
For my seven grandchildren - In years to come, may they feel the same thrill as I do each time the bridge comes into view.
First words
The Golden Gate Bridge is a global icon, a triumph of engineering, and a work of art.
Quotations
On Monday mornings, he provided free sauerkraut juice for workers suffering from hangovers.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 159691534X, Hardcover)

The Golden Gate Bridge links the urbanity of San Francisco with the wild headlands of Marin County, as if to suggest the paradox of California and America itself—the place that Fitzgerald saw as the last spot commensurate with the human capacity for wonder. The bridge, completed in 1937, also announced to the world America's engineering prowess and full assumption of its destined continental dominance. The Golden Gate is a counterpart to the Statue of Liberty, pronouncing American achievement in an unmistakable American fashion. The nation's very history is expressed in the bridge's art deco style and stark verticality.
Kevin Starr's Golden Gate is a brilliant and passionate telling of the history of the bridge, and the rich and peculiar history of the California experience. The Golden Gate is a grand public work, a symbol and a very real bridge, a magnet for both postcard photographs and suicides. In this compact but comprehensive narrative, Starr unfolds the hidden-in-plain-sight meaning of the Golden Gate, putting it in its place among classic works of art.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:15 -0400)

A chronicle of the Golden Gate Bridge's construction reveals influences from culture and nature that shaped its development while offering insight into its role as a national symbol of American engineering and innovation.

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