The Path Between the Seas
The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870-1914
By David McCullough
(Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9780743262132, 704pp.)
Publication Date: May 25, 2004
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.
Winner of the National Book Award
The building of the Panama Canal was one of the most grandiose, dramatic, and sweeping adventures of all time. Spanning nearly half a century, from its beginnings by a France in pursuit of glory to its completion by the United States on the eve of World War I, it enlisted men, nations, and money on a scale never before seen. Apart from the great wars, it was the largest, costliest single effort ever mounted anywhere on earth, and it affected the lives of tens of thousands of people throughout the world. Here in all its heartbreak and eventual triumph the epic adventure is brought vividly alive by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of such books as The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, Truman, and John Adams.
Filled with vivid detail and incident, The Path Between the Seas is not only a fact-filled account of an unprecedented engineering feat; it is also the story of the people who were caught up in it—some to win fame and fortune, others to have their reputations and even their lives destroyed. For many it was the adventure of a lifetime, an adventure whose like will never be seen again. Out of it came a revolution, the birth of a new nation, the conquest of yellow fever, and the expansion of American power.
Told from many viewpoints, this is an account drawn from previously unpublished and undiscovered sources, from interviews with actual participants and their families, from material gathered in Paris, Bogotá, Panama, the Canal Zone, and Washington. It is a canvas filled with memorable people: Ferdinand de Lesseps and his son Charles, trying to repeat de Lesseps's Suez triumph; Jules Verne; Paul Gauguin; Gustave Eiffel; A. T. Mahan and Richard Harding Davis; Senator Mark Hanna; Secretary of State John Hay; the incredible Philippe Bunau-Varilla, "the man who invented Panama"; Dr. William Gorgas; the forgotten American engineer hero John Stevens; Colonel George Washington Goethals; and, above all, Theodore Roosevelt, who "took Panama" in 1903 and left his indelible stamp on the canal.
As informative as it is fascinating, The Path Between the Seas is history told in the grand manner. With novelistic urgency it presents one of the great stories of all time in an account that will remain definitive for many years to come.
With two detailed maps and more than eighty photographs.
David McCullough has been widely acclaimed as a “master of the art of narrative history” and “a matchless writer.” He is twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize, twice winner of the National Book Award, and has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.
Mr. McCullough’s most recent book, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, the #1 New York Times bestseller, has been called “dazzling,” “an epic of ideas…history to be savored.” His previous work, 1776, has been acclaimed “a classic,” while John Adams, published in 2001, remains one of the most praised and widely read American biographies of all time. More than three million copies are in print and it is presently in its eighty-second printing.
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, breathe, and above all, confront the fundamental issues of courage, achievement, and moral character.”
Mr. McCullough’s other books include The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, The Path between the Seas, Mornings on Horseback, Brave Companions, and Truman. His work has been published in ten languages and, in all, more than 9,500,000 copies are in print. As may be said of few writers, none of his books has ever been out of print.
Mr. McCullough is also twice winner of the prestigious Francis Parkman Prize, and for his work overall, he has been honored by the National Book Foundation Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award and the National Humanities Medal. He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has received forty-seven honorary degrees.
In a crowded, productive career, he 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 Ken Burns’s The Civil War. His is also the narrator’s voice in the movie Seabiscuit.
John Adams, the seven-part mini-series on HBO, produced by Tom Hanks and starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney, was one of the most acclaimed and talked about television events of recent years.
A gifted speaker, Mr. McCullough has lectured in all parts of the country and abroad, as well as at the White House. He is also one of the few private citizens to speak before a joint session of Congress.
Born in Pittsburgh in 1933, Mr. McCullough was educated there and at Yale, where he graduated with honors in English literature. He is an avid reader and traveler, and has enjoyed a lifelong interest in art and architecture. He is a devoted painter as well. Mr. McCullough and his wife, Rosalee Barnes McCullough, have five children and eighteen grandchildren.
The New York Times
A chunk of history full of giant-sized characters and rich in political skullduggery.
Newsweek McCullough is a storyteller with the capacity to steer readers through political, financial, and engineering intricacies without fatigue or muddle. This is grand-scale expert work.