Alec's Reviews > The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge

The Great Bridge by David McCullough
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's review
Jan 30, 2012

it was amazing
Read from December 30, 2011 to January 19, 2012

Well then, I'd like to go ahead and submit my late application to hop on the David McCullough bandwagon. To sweeten the deal, oh mythical bandwagon keeper, I'd like point out that The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris currently sits on my shelf with its pages waiting to be turned. Did I mention it was hardcover? I look forward to your response.

What an incredible book. Like just about everyone who has ever been to New York and walked (or jogged -- damn you incline) across the Brooklyn Bridge, I had never really put much thought into the structure beyond the token, "Wow, this walking path is neat. More bridges should be like this." After flying through this page-turner, my feelings have certainly changed and I can only marvel at the vision, courage and perseverance required to complete such an innovative and lasting monument to human achievement. It stands now mostly unchanged (the lanes have been widened, but that's about it) since it was completed nearly 150 years ago, and with just a little bit of maintenance, there's no reason it shouldn't stand another 150 years. That is truly awesome to comprehend.

Anyway, the story of the bridge's construction is as remarkable as the finished structure itself. There is individual genius, corruption, yellow journalism, hysteria, tragedy and triumph along with an enlightening glimpse into post-Civil-War era New York. I mean that both literally and figuratively as there are some amazing pictures of lower Manhattan taken during bridge construction. I'm tempted to rip them out and make a collage for my wall. I think it would go nicely with my current decor, which is best described as "framed posters resting on the ground next to the bookshelf." I think the term is feng shui.

Pathetic apartment situation aside, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Chief Engineer Washington Roebling deserves your attention and you will not regret giving it to him. See you on the bandwagon.

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