Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Wedding of the Waters: The Erie Canal and the Making of a Great Nation Paperback – February 17, 2006
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Begun in 1817 and completed in 1825, the Erie Canal stretches 363 miles across upstate New York from Buffalo on Lake Erie to Albany on the Hudson River. A stunning achievement, the canal was hacked through a densely forested pass in the Appalachian Mountains using only axes, shovels, low-grade explosive power, beasts of burden, and some ingenious devices. The engineers and workers created locks, bypassed rapids and waterfalls, and adjusted to countless changes in elevation. When the canal was completed it became one of the wonders of the world. But the canal was much more than a spectacular construction project; it also served to bind a young United States to itself and the rest of the world in one bold stroke. In this thoroughly absorbing book, Peter Bernstein describes in vivid detail how the Erie Canal helped to shape the United States into a great nation by connecting the eastern seaboard and western expanses of America, as well as propel the Industrial Revolution and stimulate global trade, economics, and immigration. It was so important to the development of the U.S., argues Bernstein, that without the canal the detached western territories "would in all likelihood have broken away" and created another, if not several, separate countries. Manifest Destiny would have been denied.
In telling this gripping tale, the author offers a brief history of canals through the ages, explains the foresight exhibited by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson regarding the need for a waterway to the west, and outlines the political wars, financing challenges, and seemingly endless delays and false starts to the project. He also reveals much about the political landscape of early America through his profiles of the personalities and visionaries who devoted their lives to the project, along with the engineers and surveyors, most of whom had little experience designing or constructing a canal of any kind, much less such a massive undertaking. Wedding of the Waters succeeds brilliantly in bringing this rich story to life. --Shawn Carkonen --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
First proposed in 1808 and completed 17 years later, the Erie Canal was the first great feat of macroengineering undertaken by the infant American republic. As economic consultant Bernstein (Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk) shows in his eloquent account, the canal—stretching 363 miles from the Hudson River to Lake Erie—reshaped not only the economic landscape of the eastern seaboard but the political and social landscape as well. Bernstein vividly relates the political battles fought over the high-priced project and the work of surveyors, engineers and laborers. The canal was in particular an economic engine for New York, bringing down the cost of shipping goods between Buffalo and Manhattan by a whopping 90%. This in turn inspired the development of farms throughout the Great Lakes area and the Upper Midwest. At the same time, prices for farm commodities in Manhattan and other eastern cities dropped steadily, facilitating the growth of industrial workforces and a dramatic shift in the urban-to-rural ratio toward the cities. Bernstein does a first-rate job of examining the social, political and economic impact of the canal both as a construction project and as a viable path linking the Atlantic seaboard with the American interior. 20 b&w illus. not seen by PW.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
arrayed against stubborn & short-sighted nay sayers; etc.; is a reminder of "plus ca change…" comparing those days & times to our own.
Bernstein includes morsels of Hawthorne, Twain, assorted socialites and mixes in engineering facts which make clear the extent & import
of the Erie Canal in opening up the western parts of the USA as well as propelling New York City's financial energy & boom in these years.
When I got to the end of the book, I was quite disappointed. Although it is a worthwhile read, to me this book is more of a political history of New York State from 1810 to 1830 than a book on the building of the Erie Canal. I now know a lot about De Witt Clinton, Martin Van Buren, and Tammany Hall politics, but I really don't know all that much about the building of the canal itself.
I also felt that the author explained the basic economic impact of the canal a few dozen too many times. By page 100, I had it memorized that cutting transportation costs by a factor of 10 would revolutionize how farm commodities and manufactured goods were bought and sold. By page 200, I had the feeling that I was reading a high school essay that was being stretched from 1 page to meet the 5 page requirement.
Overall, I am still glad I bought the book and invested the time to read it. I'm just still looking for a book that explains how the canal was built.
1. A political history of the United states during the formative years from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln
2. The geographical limitations of settling the interior of the United States west of the coastal rivers and the Appalachian Mountains
3. A history of canal navigation from ancient China to modern times
4. A geographical voyage across upstate New York along the 363 miles from Albany to Buffalo
5. The history of the post-Revolutionary War conflict between the United States and England which led to the War of 1812
6. A description of the industrial world before the opening the canal in 1825 and before railroads
7. The economic and political constraints of the early confederation of states
8. A political history of New York State
I read the book with my tablet computer at my side frequently looking up topics, checking facts and searching for archival photos on the internet. An electronic edition might contain hyperlinks for taking the reader to the many web sites I visited. The book has several pages of illustration but the epic nature of the story demands more. This book could be the basis for a great TV special.
If you are expecting the equivalent of McCullough's "Path Between the Seas", you will be disappointed. That book deals extensively with the physical aspects of construction on the Panama Canal. Bernsteins book is mostly about the history of the period, the people, politics, and financing of the Erie Canal. The actual dig is treated lightly. It depends on your taste: people or shovels.
Most recent customer reviews