Engineers of Dreams: Great Bridge Builders and the Spanning of America

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Dec 15, 2010 - Technology & Engineering - 496 pages
Petroski reveals the science and engineering--not to mention the politics, egotism, and sheer magic--behind America's great bridges, particularly those constructed during the great bridge-building era starting in the 1870s and continuing through the 1930s. It is the story of the men and women who built the St. Louis, the George Washington, and the Golden Gate bridges, drawing not only on their mastery of numbers but on their gifts for persuasion and self-promotion. It is an account of triumphs and ignominious disasters (including the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which literally twisted itself apart in a high wind). And throughout this grandly engaging book, Petroski lets us see how bridges became the "symbols and souls" of our civilization, as well as testaments to their builders' vision, ingenuity, and perseverance.

"Seamlessly linked...With astonishing scope and generosity of view, Mr. Petroski places the tradition of American bridge-building in perspective."--New York Times Book Review

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Many of the major cities in the U.S. got their start as big port cities. Ships could sail in, deposit goods, and flood the local economy with raw materials and other goods. They were ports because a ... Read full review

ENGINEERS OF DREAMS: Great Bridge Builders and the Spanning of America

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A great idea: The story behind the Brooklyn Bridge, Golden Gate, and a score of other marvels of late-19th and 20th century engineering genius. If only Petroski (The Pencil, 1990; The Evolution of ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Henry Petroski is the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and a professor of history at Duke University, where he also serves as chairman of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The author of more than 15 books, he has received grants from the National Science Foundation and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Humanities Center.

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