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

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  111 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
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, draw ...more
ebook, 496 pages
Published December 15th 2010 by Vintage (first published 1995)
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Apr 27, 2009 Ari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have mixed feelings about this book. The introduction felt very rambly, and almost unreadable. I've noticed that in a lot of Petroski's books. However, the body of the book was both informative and pleasant to read. I learned things. The book has three strands to it: the history of bridge engineering, the technical aspects of bridge engineering and construction, and also the evolution of engineering culture.

Something I didn't really appreciate is that during the golden age of big bridge buildi
Dec 26, 2015 Cade rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, technology
This book was interesting but not compelling. Although I generally enjoyed what I read, I had to force myself to keep turning the pages. I would have appreciated a little more technical information on how the bridges "work." At least qualitatively, I wish the book would diagram some of the "broad strokes" of how the components of the bridge work to resist loads of wind and gravity. If you want to understand why the design of bridges evolved, this book doesn't really have enough technical detail ...more
Jason Hatcher
Jul 11, 2007 Jason Hatcher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am in the field of large bridge design and construction and was given this book by a close friend in the same line of work. It is a thoroughly interesting look at 5 of the most influential American bridge engineers, Eads, Cooper, Lindenthal, Ammann & Steinman.
An inspiring book.
Dick Stapleton
Apr 11, 2010 Dick Stapleton rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well, it took me five monthes to plow through this. Not sure why I stayed with it but I am a stubborn reader. Kept hoping it would, ahem, build, but book rarely delivered more than list of engineer's names. The engineers dreamed and their bridges soared. Alas, the telling did not.
Apr 15, 2012 Clint rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
All about bridges! Fascinating how we evolved towards the huge monster bridges that we often take for granted. Pretty detailed but very interesting.
eBook. Lots of good info, but also too much detail and repetition. Ch 5, on GWB, Golden Gate, etc. is most interesting
Jesse Hackell
Sep 26, 2011 Jesse Hackell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Driving across the George Washington Bridge, one would never guess the politics and stories behind it's construction. It is like seeing these bridges from a previously inaccessible vantage point.
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Henry Petroski is a civil engineering professor at Duke University where he specializes in failure analysis.

Petroski was born in Brooklyn, New York, and in 1963, he received his bachelor's degree from Manhattan College. He graduated with his Ph.D. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1968. Before beginning his work at Duke in 1980, he worked a
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