Brenda Pike's Reviews > The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914

The Path Between the Seas by David McCullough
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's review
Feb 17, 2012

really liked it
Read in January, 2012

I read this book as I was traveling through the Panama Canal, and it really added a lot to the experience. I'd never understood before the scale of the undertaking, how many people died in the process, how many countries had a hand in it, and the controversy over it. Financing it was perhaps the first big stock bubble, which destroyed the French economy when it burst and brought down a government. And the personalities involved! Dr. Gorgas with his discoveries about mosquitoes and malaria may be my favorite, but there are so many others, and it seems like whole project depended—many times—solely on the force of a single man's personality. There are certainly chapters that drag (I think there's just too much information about Congress deciding whether or not to take on the project and how to do so), but overall, it's a great book, and I wish more history was like this.

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