The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Jun 1, 2001 - History - 608 pages
438 Reviews
First published in 1972, The Great Bridge is the classic account of one of the greatest engineering feats of all time. Winning acclaim for its comprehensive look at the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, this book helped cement David McCullough's reputation as America's preeminent social historian. Now, The Great Bridge is reissued as a Simon & Schuster Classic Edition with a new introduction by the author. This monumental book brings back for American readers the heroic vision of the America we once had. It 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 great things were possible. In the years around 1870, when the project was first undertaken, the concept of building a great 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 pyramids. 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 obstructing the great enterprise. Amid the flood of praise for the book when it was originally published, Newsday said succinctly "This is the definitive book on the event. Do not wait for a better try: there won't be any."
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
171
4 stars
179
3 stars
68
2 stars
17
1 star
3

Well written and researched. - Goodreads
Amazing story, excellent writing. - Goodreads
New insight or at least information into leadership. - Goodreads
What a terrific writer! - Goodreads
A genius of a historian--and a marvelous writer. - Goodreads
David McCullough is an extraordinary historical writer. - Goodreads

Review: The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge

User Review  - Laura - Goodreads

Typical McCullough! It is extremely well researched and an interesting read on history, engineering, politics and people. It is too detailed for me though. Read full review

Review: The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge

User Review  - Kristen - Goodreads

Wow. Everything you ever wanted to know about the Brooklyn Bridge and more. Part engineering explanation, part discussion of NY politics in the late 1800's and part biography of engineer Washington A ... Read full review

All 5 reviews »

Contents

Introduction
9
Authors Note
13
PART
19
The Plan
21
Man of Iron
38
The Genuine Language of America
61
Father and Son
83
Brooklyn
101
The Heroic Mode
286
PART THREE
301
At the Halfway Mark
303
Spirits of76
317
A Perfect Pandemonium
332
Number 8 Birmingham Gauge
348
The Gigantic Spinning Machine
374
Wire Fraud
394

The Proper Person to See
119
The Chief Engineer
140
PART
167
All According to Plan
169
Down in the Caisson
190
Fire
209
The Past Catches Up
226
How Natural Right and Proper
246
The Mysterious Disorder
266
Emily
411
The Man in the Window
437
And Yet the Bridge Is Beautiful
462
The Peoples Day
482
Epilogue
500
Appendix
519
Picture Credits
565
Index
579
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2001)

David McCullough has been called a "master of the art of narrative history." His books have been praised for their exceptional narrative sweep, their scholarship and insight into American life, and for their literary distinction.

In the words of the citation accompanying his honorary degree from Yale, "As an historian, he paints with words, giving us pictures of the American people that live, breath, and above all, confront the fundamental issues of courage, achievement, and moral character."

Mr. McCullough is twice winner of the National Book Award, twice winner of the prestigious Francis Parkman Prize. For his monumental Truman, he received the Pulitzer Prize. For his work overall, he has been honored with the National Book Foundation Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award, the National Humanities Medal, the St. Louis Literary Award, the Carl Sandburg Award, and the New York Public Library's Literary Lion Award.

His books include The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, The Path Between the Seas, Mornings on Horseback, Brave Companions, and Truman. As may be said of the work of few writers, none of his books have ever been out of print.

In a crowded, productive career, Mr. McCullough has been an editor, essayist, teacher, lecturer, and familiar presence on public television -- as host of Smithsonian World, The American Experience, and narrator of numerous documentaries including The Civil War and Napoleon. He is a past president of the Society of American Historians. He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has received 31 honorary degrees.

A gifted speaker, Mr. McCullough has lectured in all parts of the country and abroad, as well as at the White House, as part of the White House presidential lecture series. He is also one of the few private citizens to be asked to speak before a joint session of Congress.

Born in Pittsburgh in 1933, Mr. McCullough was educated there and at Yale, where he was graduated with honors in English literature. An avid reader, traveler, and landscape painter, he lives in West Tisbury, Massachusetts with his wife Rosalee Barnes McCullough. They have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

Bibliographic information