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      Matthew Quick 9780062285560

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Seaway To the Future (08 Edition)


Seaway To the Future (08 Edition) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

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Publisher Comments:

Realizing the century-old dream of a passage to India, the building of the Panama Canal was an engineering feat of colossal dimensions, a construction site filled not only with mud and water but with interpretations, meanings, and social visions. Alexander Missal’s Seaway to the Future unfolds a cultural history of the Panama Canal project, revealed in the texts and images of the era’s policymakers and commentators. Observing its creation, journalists, travel writers, and officials interpreted the Canal and its environs as a perfect society under an efficient, authoritarian management featuring innovations in technology, work, health, and consumption. For their middle-class audience in the United States, the writers depicted a foreign yet familiar place, a showcase for the future—images reinforced in the exhibits of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition that celebrated the Canal’s completion. Through these depictions, the building of the Panama Canal became a powerful symbol in a broader search for order as Americans looked to the modern age with both anxiety and anticipation.
            Like most utopian visions, this one aspired to perfection at the price of exclusion. Overlooking the West Indian laborers who built the Canal, its admirers praised the white elite that supervised and administered it. Inspired by the masculine ideal personified by President Theodore Roosevelt, writers depicted the Canal Zone as an emphatically male enterprise and Chief Engineer George W. Goethals as the emblem of a new type of social leader, the engineer-soldier, the benevolent despot. Examining these and other images of the Panama Canal project, Seaway to the Future shows how they reflected popular attitudes toward an evolving modern world and, no less important, helped shape those perceptions.

Best Books for Regional Special Interests, selected by the American Association of School Librarians, and Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the Public Library Association

“Provide[s] a useful vantage on the world bequeathed to us by the forces that set out to put America astride the globe nearly a century ago.”—Chris Rasmussen, Bookforum


The building of the Panama Canal became a powerful symbol in a broader search for order as Americans looked to the modern age with both anxiety and anticipation.

About the Author

Alexander Missal, a journalist in Germany, earned his Ph.D. in Anglo-American history from the University of Cologne.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations                    
Approaching the Panama Canal: An Introduction                      
1. Logistics of Expansion: The Long Road to Realization                       
2. American Triumph: Explaining the Canal Project                   
3. The Engineered View: The Panama Canal in Pictures            
4. Ideal Community: The Canal Zone as an American Utopia                
5. Canal Celebration: The Panama-Pacific International Exposition                    
Conclusion: Visiting a Construction Site            

Product Details

Missal, Alexander
University of Wisconsin Press
Ships & Shipbuilding - History
Social Policy
Latin America - Central America
Central America
Panama Canal (Panama) History.
Panama Canal (Panama) - In popular culture
Nautical-Ships and Ship History
Edition Description:
Studies in American Thought and Culture
Publication Date:
34 b/w illus.
9 x 6 in
Age Level:
Culture and Society under the American Big Top</i>

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Related Subjects

Engineering » Civil Engineering » General
Engineering » Engineering » History
History and Social Science » American Studies » Pre World War I
History and Social Science » Latin America » Panama
History and Social Science » World History » Central America
Transportation » Nautical » Ships and Ship History

Seaway To the Future (08 Edition) Used Hardcover
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Product details 280 pages University of Wisconsin Press - English 9780299229405 Reviews:
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The building of the Panama Canal became a powerful symbol in a broader search for order as Americans looked to the modern age with both anxiety and anticipation.
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