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

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Simon and Schuster, 2001 - History - 608 pages
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."
 

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User Review  - Stbalbach - LibraryThing

The Great Bridge (1972) has a couple notable points. Foremost, McCullough was the first to discover important primary source documents about the bridge, stacked in a closet somewhere, thus making it ... Read full review

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User Review  - bereanna - LibraryThing

Long and very detailed with excellent narrative about the men who built the Brooklyn Bridge and how it was built. Covers the corrupt Tweed Ring in NYC, the news media, remarkable men and men of ... Read full review

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Contents

II
21
III
38
IV
61
VI
83
VII
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VIII
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IX
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X
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XVII
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XVIII
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XV
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XVI
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XXV
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XXVI
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XXVII
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XXVIII
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XXIX
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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.

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