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Conquering Gotham: A Gilded Age Epic: The Construction of Penn Station and Its Tunnels Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 19, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
Top Customer Reviews
For decades, the leaders of the Pennyslvania Railroad had tried to come up with a way to bring their trains into Manhattan. A bridge over the Hudson was designed and then abandoned for lack of financial support from other railroads. A brilliant visionary, Alexander Cassatt, as President of the Pennsylvania convinced the board of directors on a great gamble: to invest millions in the building of tunnels under the Hudson, erection of a great station in Manhattan and extending the tunnels across the Manhattan and the East River to Long Island.
The stories are of the herculean engineering effort involved in designing and constructing the tunnels, since none that long had ever been attempted; the problems of dealing with the Democrat Party's corrupt Tammany political machine; the design and construction of the iconic Penn Station; Teddy Roosevelt's campaign against trusts and big business and more.
In short, Jonnes's history is epic because her subjects are epic.
Jonnes has a good writing style; she is able to breathe life into some relatively obscure subjects and does well at attempting to convey the nature of life in the early 20th Century.Read more ›
The majesty of the tunnel undertakings should have been the centerpiece of the story. The effort in the book clearly went into retracing the intrigues surroundinging the graft-ridden political machinery the PRR had to overcome. So, for visual support, we are treated to a number of head- and group shots of the principals, in and out of business meetings, and nostalgic scenes of congested New York streets and waterways. Where are the detailed descriptions, maps and diagrams that flesh out the real story - the mastery of tunnel construction in an unstable footing?
Jonnes has a long way to go to approach the narrative skills of David McCullough in "The Great Bridge," "The Johnstown Flood," or "The Path Between the Seas."
Railroad: it's leaders, planners and civil engineers and rank in file, arguably one of the greatest corporations in American history.
The story related by the author was really about the dream of one man, Alexander Cassatt, President of the Pennsylvania Railroad to connect the greatest, best run railroad in America, to its greatest city. In an era when most railroad heads were Robber Barons who manipulated their company's stock to enrich themselves and who cared nothing or little for their shareholders, employees or passengers, Cassatt was a statesman who ran the `Pennsy', as it was affectionately called, always with the goal of improving it.
For his project, Cassatt was able to turn to an outstanding team of engineers including the great English tunnel builder, Charles Jacobs, bridge builder Alfred Noble and James Forgie.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An engaging, lively account of the conception, birth and agonizing demise of one of the great American cathedrals of early 20th Century transportation.Published 23 days ago by John R. Roby
Excellent. The present dump that is Penn seems a bit less awful after reading about what it was. Or perhaps even more awful.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book is a hefty piece of critical NYC history. It's hard to understand how much power Penn Station gave the city, and how scared we are for having lost it. Read morePublished 4 months ago by J
Loved the sweep of history in the building of Penn Station and the tunnels under the Hudson River.
Jill Jonnes proves again that she can tell a factual story and make the... Read more
Very thorough history of how the idea and the implementation of the great endeavor to bring the Pennsylvania Railroad into Manhattan came about. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Howard Sackel
This book is about Penn Station and how the great men of Pennsylvania railroad wanted to make New York easily accessible to the people on the other side of the... Read more
For anone that likes history or engineering, let alone loves it,,this is an absolute great read. A page turner hard to put down. Great work Ms. Jonnes.Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Good book. Personal connection with the PRR, from childhood, when my dad worked there.Published 11 months ago by Fan of Both