Angela'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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really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction

This book is as equally epic as its subject—the Brooklyn Bridge, the first link between New York and Brooklyn, seldom changing as the cities around it have changed.

It's not just the story of a bridge, though following its building is fascinating enough. It's about the Roebling family, and of the cities themselves. We follow John A. Roebling in his initial design of the bridge (essentially unchanged compared to the finished product), and its continuation by his son, Washington, after his death. Washington was on-site during the construction; he knew every intricate detail of the bridge as if he'd designed it himself. The bridge links not just the cities, but the countless people who worked on it—engineers, laborers, the bridge committee, and even those simply living on the shores who'd watched it rise.

It explores the culture at the time, too, putting you into the era—the horse-drawn carriages, men in silk top hats, the birth of electricity. There are many details of the shifty politics at the time, including bribery and shady political bosses.

This book is intimidating to start—it sat on my "to read" shelf for three years—but it's not a chore to actually read. It's "creative nonfiction" at its best. Now I want to walk over that bridge again, knowing how the supports were built and the wire was spun. And I definitely want to see the plaques on the towers commemorating all the people who worked on it, every one being someone fleshed out in this story.
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Reading Progress

August 15, 2016 – Shelved
August 15, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
December 10, 2019 – Shelved as: non-fiction
December 31, 2019 – Started Reading
January 16, 2020 – Finished Reading

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