The Great Bridge
The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge
By David McCullough
(Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9781451683233, 608pp.)
Publication Date: May 15, 2012
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.
This monumental book tells the enthralling story of one of the greatest accomplishments in our nation’s history, the building of what was then the longest suspension bridge in the world. The Brooklyn Bridge rose out of the expansive era following the Civil War, when Americans believed all things were possible.
So daring a concept as spanning the East River to join two great cities required vision and dedication of the kind that went into building Europe’s great cathedrals. During fourteen years of construction, the odds against success seemed overwhelming. Thousands of people were put to work. Bodies were crushed and broken, lives lost, notorious political empires fell, and surges of public doubt constantly threatened the project. But the story of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge is not just the saga of an engineering miracle; it is a sweeping narrative of the social climate of the time, replete with heroes and rascals who helped either to construct or to exploit the great enterprise.
The Great Bridge is also the story of a remarkable family, the Roeblings, who conceived and executed the audacious engineering plan at great personal cost. Without John Roebling’s vision, his son Washington’s skill and courage, and Washington’s wife Emily’s dedication, the bridge we know and cherish would never have been built.
Like the engineering marvel it describes, The Great Bridge, republished on the fortieth anniversary of its initial publication, has stood the test of time.
David McCullough has twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for Truman and John Adams, and twice received the National Book Award, for The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback. His other acclaimed books are 1776, Brave Companions, The Johnstown Flood, and The Greater Journey. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.
“The impact of the soaring structure upon the American imagination and American life has now been measured with sagacity and style by David McCullough. . . . The Great Bridge is a book so compelling and complete as to be a literary monument, one of the best books I have read in years. McCullough has written that sort of work which brings us to the human center of the past.”
—Robert Kirsch, Los Angeles Times
“The Great Bridge is a great book. . . . What David McCullough has written is a stupendous narrative about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, with a cast of thousands (give or take 100), whose major characters come alive on the page as authentically, as creatively, as would their fictional counterparts if one had the imagination to dream up such a yarn. Once again, truth is not only stranger than fiction but a hell of a lot more entertaining. Get your hands on The Great Bridge. . . . This is the definitive book on the event. Do not wait for a better try: there won't be any.”
—Norman Rosten, Newsday
“David McCullough has taken a dramatic and colorful episode out of the American past and described it in such a way that he sheds fresh light on a whole era in American history.”
“After reading David McCullough’s account, you will never look at the old bridge in quite the same way again.”
—Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times
“McCullough is one of our most gifted living writers.”
—Marie Arana, The Washington Post