Winner of the National Book Award for history, The Path Between the Seas tells the story of the men and women who fought against all odds to fulfill the 400-year-old dream of constructing an aquatic passageway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It is a story of astonishing engineering feats, tremendous medical accomplishments, political power plays, heroic successes, and tragic failures. McCullough expertly weaves the many strands of this momentous event into a captivating tale.
Like his masterful, Pulitzer Prize-winning biography John Adams, David McCullough's The Path Between the Seas has the sweep and vitality of a great novel. This audiobook is a must-listen for anyone interested in American history, international intrigue, and human drama.
©2001 David McCullough (P)2011 Simon & Schuster
"A chunk of history full of giant-sized characters and rich in political skullduggery." (Newsweek)
Do you read the book before you dislike my reviews?
I can understand why "The Path Between the Seas", about the Panama Canal is getting mix reviews from other listeners. I'm only the fourth person to write a review on this audiobook and the audio was published just a few years ago. The print version was published over 30 years ago, but the information is not outdated because the Panama Canal is a part of the Earth that was man made.
If you are not familiar with David McCullough, you will have a rough time getting through any of his books because he will go on and on with detail after detail. There is no stone unturned when he writes about our history. This is why you always know at what you are purchasing when listening to one of his titles.
David McCullough is a legend among the greats. He will tell you the back stories beyond the focal point, that no one ever bother talking about. They are usually human interest stories on the crew that helped build the structure, or the troops that fought in the war.
Reading about the Panama Canal was a bit tiring just because I've read a lot of other titles from McCullough this year. The Path Between the Seas was the third book from this historian when it got published in 1977. It won several awards, but he didn't get his first Pulitzer Prize until 16 years after for Truman. If you are a fan of this historian, you must need to invest your time at reading Truman. By far, it is just one of his best.
As for The Path Between the Seas, it's another apart of history that I totally skipped over when I was in school, but I'm enjoying it now.
As I mentioned before, I've read a lot from David McCullough in the past months and kind of need to take a break, but I am never disappointed of any of his titles.
It's the details that keeps the listener to keep listening.
This is an interesting book. Actually, it is two interesting books and that is the problem. The construction of the Panama Canal is clearly a subject of immense interest to David McCullough, who has written a book about the canal's French and American construction episodes that positively drowns the reader in superfluous detail. Really, this is two different stories which would be best left to two different books. McCullough's editor failed him here, for much of the material in this book would be best left on the cutting room floor. There is plenty of good material in this book, just too much of it. Another shortcoming regards the "performance" or audiobook narration. This book is full of Spanish and French person and place names, and the narrator is simply not good at pronouncing those names. The result is just a bit annoying and painful to listen to.
That was one of the best histories I have listened to. I knew that the canal was a challenge, but I had no idea of the scale of the challenge or the special people it took to get it done. As a health care professional myself, I was particularly intrigued by the methods the Americans used to conquer disease, and why they were more successful among whites than among the black workers. Very good story, very well told.
The history of the Panama Canal is covered in this book and goes into great detail. I have been to the canal several times and had no idea of what went into building it. Gave me a much greater appreciation of the French roll and how the U. S. completed it. A very interesting read.
Nelson was great and easy to listen to. I had to finish this book and spent several long hours listening to his rendition.
An incredible saga.
It was a shame McCullough's publishers didn't hire a better "voice" for this long book. Nelson Runger's desire to read this story in a variety of accents fell quite short of the mark for Spanish. Since a good portion of it needed a French accent, I suppose that is what they were looking for. But the constant repetition of French names, rendered with a "foreign" accent, made it difficult for me to keep the characters straight. In this one respect, I, personally, would have been better off reading the book. On the other hand, the book (really, the tome) is so long, I doubt I would have finished it as quickly.
The story is interesting, but unlike the Brooklyn Bridge, the back story was not as interesting and McCullough went into long passages of tangential material. I'm a big McCullough fan but this was longer than necessary. And it was made all the worse by a reader who was so painfully slow, you could nap between his sentences. It was like listing to a 45RPM recording at 33. It was 31 hours worth of listing that could have been done in 2/3 the time if the reader had picked up the pace. It was so draggy my mind would wander between passages.
His slow pace was a terrible distraction.
Yes. Because it is so magnificent in its scope it is impossible to get everything on the first listen.
The whole drama was incredible...but I like the way David makes the characters (including the canal) three-dimensional.
His delivery was fast and clipped...a little too long between sections and chapters. I kept thinking something was wrong with my I-Pod.
McCullough...at his best!!!
I don't know a lot about panama and its canal. However, This book is well detail. It paints a vivid picture for the readers. Also, it was not basis rather it shows the ingenuity and failure of mankind. A such, It is a magnificent reading for young engineers, entrepreneurs, historians and anyone who enjoy history.
The narrator, did a magnificent job. It was like a movie.
Having been through the canal on a cruise ship, I found the whole history of the effort to be fascinating. The author gives you a view of most aspect of the story from the technical and political side to personal stories of those involved both high and low. I also think Nelson Runger did a credible job with the reading.
A different narrator.
Nelson Runger makes a distracting and disgusting sort of loud swallowing, lip smacking, wet sort of sound with nearly every breath he takes and at the end of every sentence. When he pauses between sections, there is such a cacaphony of phlegmy saliva noise that I have literally shocked myself yelling out loud, "Oh C'MON! YUCK!" I returned "Founding Brothers" because I just couldn't take it anymore - and I'm about to return this one. I just listened to McCullough read his own book ("Wright Brothers") and he did a marvelous job. I love his books and his writing style. I would love to listen to the Edward Hermann version but, alas, it is abridged. Am I the only one so bothered by Runger's humid delivery?!? After a while, that's all I hear and I have to turn it off or gag! I am also terribly annoyed by his tone, which sounds condescending and judgemental. And his French pronunciation is so affected and exaggerated that I really can't believe he's still being paid to do this. I will never buy another audiobook read by Nelson Runger.
McCullough's writing is fantastic. This review is strictly about the narrator.
"Good book, annoying narrator"
The narrator was very frustrating with this book. His cadence was difficult to get used to and it felt unnatural, as if he was just reading each word and applying random inflections. Great story though.
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