Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge Preloaded Digital Audio Player – Unabridged, October 1, 2008
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Preloaded Digital Audio Player, Unabridged
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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 and founded a community of Germans. After about a decade however Roebling went back into engineering and began a series of high profile suspension bridges, notably Roebling bridge in Cincinnati and a railroad bridge over the Niagara river.
When Roebling began work on the Brooklyn bridge his son was his main assistant – Washington Roebling. Unfortunately after his foot was injured in an on the job accident, Joeseph Roebling contracted gangrene and died. His son had to take over as the main engineer for the bridge and he accomplished it by using caissons to sink the foundation of the towers. At that time the medical issues associated with working in pressures greater than one atmosphere were not well understood. Washington Roebling basically sacrificed his life due to his becoming chronically ill from having worked in the caissons and suffering the bends repeatedly. He was bedridden for years, but still managed to manage the project from his home in Brooklyn.
There were some drawbacks to this book, mostly in the middle parts of it. I don't think that the book did a great job of describing the “how to” part of building the bridge. I had seen a special on the history channel on building the bridge. Without that I don't think the book would have made clear what was involved in the caissons and “spinning the wire” . Also the book gets a little bogged down in the politics behind building the bridge, the graft and corruption involved.
Overall though this was a good book to help you understand what went into building a great American landmark.
Top international reviews
From John Roeblings journey to America, Washington Roeblings education and exploits in the civil war. Down in the caissons at the bottom of the east river, up on the bridge towers, spinning the cables. And Emily Roebling who finished the bridge after her Husband became sick with "Caissons disease". Nor is it just a story of engineering, or of human sacrifice. The political climate of the day provided just as many obstacles to the building of the great bridge as the east river, or crooked wire makers! Its a hell of a story, and nowhere will you found it better told than by McCullough!
It is a thorough evocative book, and I recommend it.
However, the technical side of the construction could have been better. For example, there are some illustrations in the book, but they are not referred to in the text. So, you find yourself puzzling over a paragraph in the text, only to come across a diagram 50 pages later.
Additionally, several topics (such as the initial linking of the towers with strands) really need diagrams to clarify the text. A few more pages of original diagrams would have been useful, to add to the old photos and sketches.
The reader is entertained with not only a real insight into the lives of the Roebling Family - father and son who designed the bridge and oversaw its construction - but also with the insufferable working conditions, the nefarious behaviour of politicians and the chance to savour at close hand the atmosphere of the second half of the nineteenth century in Brooklyn and New York.
He provides lots of detail and slowly paints the picture. You would think that it would be pretty difficult to tell an interesting story about building a Bridge, but this he does in such a way, you cannot put the book down.
If you go to New Yortk be sure to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.
The Roeblings, John and especially Washington A, truly are American Heroes. After being hit very hard by the "caisson disorder", Chief Engineer Washington Roebling continued his work in dismal physical conditions. This is a succes story against all odds; against sickness, against corruption, against bureaucracy, againts conservatisims, most of all against political agendas.
Even though I wasn't able to quite understand all the technical explanations on how the Great Bridge was built, it doesn't matter much to me. The human side of the story is quite interesting to say the least.
It will definitly make me walk the Great Bridge one more time and this time, I'll fully appreciate it.
Es ist viel zu langatmig, sehr langweilig. Jedes einzelne Familienmitglied wird bis ins kleinste Details beschrieben.
Very interesting. Focused on historical facts rather than in structural issues.