This monumental book tells the enthralling story of one of the greatest accomplishments in our nation's history, the building of what was then the longest suspension bridge in the world. The Brooklyn Bridge rose out of the expansive era following the Civil War, when Americans believed all things were possible.
So daring a concept as spanning the East River to join two great cities required vision and dedication of the kind that went into building Europe's great cathedrals. During 14 years of construction, the odds against success seemed overwhelming. Thousands of people were put to work. Bodies were crushed and broken, lives lost, notorious political empires fell, and surges of public doubt constantly threatened the project. But the story of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge is not just the saga of an engineering miracle; it is a sweeping narrative of the social climate of the time, replete with heroes and rascals who helped either to construct or to exploit the great enterprise.
The Great Bridge is also the story of a remarkable family, the Roeblings, who conceived and executed the audacious engineering plan at great personal cost. Without John Roebling's vision, his son Washington's skill and courage, and Washington's wife Emily's dedication, the bridge we know and cherish would never have been built.
Like the engineering marvel it describes, The Great Bridge, republished on the 40th anniversary of its initial publication, has stood the test of time.
Please note: The Great Bridge (Unabridged) is available for just one credit until June 20, 2012, after which point it will be priced at two credits.
©2007 David McCullough (P)2012 Simon & Schuster
“The impact of the soaring structure upon the American imagination and American life has now been measured with sagacity and style by David McCullough....The Great Bridge is a book so compelling and complete as to be a literary monument, one of the best books I have read in years. McCullough has written that sort of work which brings us to the human center of the past.” (Robert Kirsch, Los Angeles Times)
"The Great Bridge is a great book. . . . What David McCullough has written is a stupendous narrative about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, with a cast of thousands (give or take 100), whose major characters come alive on the page as authentically, as creatively, as would their fictional counterparts if one had the imagination to dream up such a yarn. Once again, truth is not only stranger than fiction but a hell of a lot more entertaining. Get your hands on The Great Bridge...This is the definitive book on the event. Do not wait for a better try: there won't be any.” (Norman Rosten, Newsday)
“David McCullough has taken a dramatic and colorful episode out of the American past and described it in such a way that he sheds fresh light on a whole era in American history.” (Bruce Catton)
This was a great story of how one America's great wonders was built. David McCullough has a way of making history very intersesting. I have never listened to or read any of his books but now I look forward to listening to all his books.
Success, cost, ambition
The opening ceremony, which isn't a clever answer, I realize. The ceremonies were so grand, and described in such detail I can picture them now.
I love Emily Warren Roebling. I wish I could find more information about her. She is such an inspiration to me.
Several. In suspense: bringing the line over the river the first time. In sorrow: at the death of John Roebling. In astonishment: at the political corruption of the time. In admiration: Washington Roebling's undying courage and confidence.
If this book sounds at all interesting to you, read it. It's marvelous. If a 27 hour long audio book about a bridge sounds monotonous, skip it. Although, McCullough brilliantly brings in the surrounding world, this book isn't for everyone. I loved it.
What a truly enjoyable story. How wonderfully investigated. Just fascinating.
I will never look at a bridge the same way and I look forward to my next visit to NY.
just too wordy and many other bridges built and seems we get lost on the building of this bridge.
The story of the building of the great Brooklyn Bridge is compelling and complex, and Mr McCullough does the story justice. He has a gift for timing and cadence in his prose, and he presents facts in way that breathes life into them. His history drew this reader into the narrative. Mr Runger is a capable narrator, but might do well to turn down the tone of simpering when presenting female voices. I enjoyed the audiobook so much that even after the 27-plus hours of unabridged listening, I felt sad when I finished the book. That is the most genuine compliment I can offer any work.
I love good history books about WW II, the Civil War, and the Revolutionary War. I like other good books about life and cooking.
I would recommend this book to anyone that has any interest in history and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Washington Roebling was my favorite character. Taking over for his Dad, and being in his shadow and to do what he and his wife did was amazing.
Nelson Runger did a very good job of narration. David McCullough is a fine narrator and I think Nelson did him proud.
How detailed it was and the history that was brought into the book.
Five star book and narration from me.
Yes - I'll probably listen to it again even after already listening.
Very well characterized the challenges in their day.
I appreciate Nelson Runger, but, I'm very tired of him. I've listened to him read at least 50 books.
Yes. The battle Roebling had with the worthless politicians who were willing to scrap thehim, the greatest asset of the bridge. Politicians always short-shrift the doers in the world - it's still true today!
I loved this book. I've heard almost every book I think in this genre - historical engineering projects, and this is one of the best. Highest recommendation.
No, too long but loved it
Very long but fascinating--David McCollough does great work and I will read anything he writes
As a reader, as a historian, I wanted to love this book. I even took it on a long flight. But the book mires itself too much in a narrow view of politics that could have been dispensed with (and made clearer) in a tenth of the space.
The book delivered on the designer and the design, and on the construction (if skewed a bit heavily to the caissons). If that were the whole book and the politics were winnowed down, I would have given this a 4. To get the big five, because McCullough is a good writer, I would have also gotten a lot more about what was going on in the world of the 1860s to the 1880s. Carnegie is in the book as a potential steel supplier, and the different types of steel are discussed, but these things were big pendulums in the world, and even a paragraph about the force and direction of that pendulum would have made this story connect in a vibrant way to a lot of history. There were a whole host of missed opportunities like this.
Not the big glorious flowing history that fires all the synapses that I wanted.
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