The dramatic and enthralling story of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, the world’s longest suspension bridge at the time, a tale of greed, corruption, and obstruction but also of optimism, heroism, and determination, told by master historian David McCullough.
This monumental book is the enthralling story of one of the greatest events in our nation’s history, during the Age of Optimism—a period when Americans were convinced in their hearts that all things were possible.
In the years around 1870, when the project was first undertaken, the concept of building an unprecedented bridge to span the East River between the great cities of Manhattan and Brooklyn required a vision and determination comparable to that which went into the building of the great cathedrals. Throughout the fourteen years of its construction, the odds against the successful completion of the bridge seemed staggering. Bodies were crushed and broken, lives lost, political empires fell, and surges of public emotion constantly threatened the project. But this is not merely the saga of an engineering miracle; it is a sweeping narrative of the social climate of the time and of the heroes and rascals who had a hand in either constructing or exploiting the surpassing enterprise.
Another home run
What can you say at this point? David McCullough is a national treasure. This book not only follows the politically intriguing and perilous story of the building of one of America's great bridges, but it also tells the complicated, interwoven back-stories of so many of its lead characters, from John A. and Washington Roebling and any of their lieutenants, to Boss Tweed and the rascals of Tammany Hall. Heroic, thoughtful, tragic, inspiring, patriotic. What a yarn McCullough can spin.
In addition, the discussion of the technology pioneered during the planning and construction of the bridge is fascinating, if a bit hard to follow in some places. Perhaps diagrams would help, but of course, none are available in an audio book.
The Great Bridge reads like the cross between a best-selling novel and a Ken Burns documentary. I now know more about the Brooklyn Bridge than most New Yorkers. I'm ready to take my position as tour guide.
Finally, while I'm sorry to see that McCullough seems to have finally retired from narrating his own books, Edward Hermann is a very capable successor.
Another excellent book by David McCullough. I'm in the process of listening to all his books, and so far this one is my favorite. An era of history that I knew little about, I was truly fascinated by the process of building this bridge. Highly recommended.
Finally on audiobook
This book is a great read if you are interested in bridge history. I am sure in audiobook it will also be great.