Last year my brother John gave me a copy of David McCullough’s The Great Bridge:  The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge, which I finished some months back.

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It was a smashing good book in many ways.  McCullough is a superb popular historian, following finely in the footsteps of his predecessor Cornelius Ryan in the way he keeps the narrative lively and engaging.  Of course, the story itself lends to this liveliness, covering the astonishing technical methods employed in the bridge’s construction (just a handful of years after the end of the Civil War!), the personal histories and individual challenges of the chief characters, and of the course the corrupt and self-serving machinations of the politicians at both the local and state levels of New York (some things, apparently, never change).

The tale of how the supports for the bridge’s towers were built is itself riveting enough to anchor the whole book.  Along the way, though, we learn of the evolution of bridge building as the still-young country slowly knit itself together with better and better means of transit from one place to another.

I highly recommend this book.  Thanks, John!