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Highway Under the Hudson: A History of the Holland Tunnelby Robert W. Jackson
Synopses & Reviews
Every year, more than thirty-three million vehicles traverse the Holland Tunnel, making their way to and from Jersey City and Lower Manhattan. From tourists to commuters, many cross the tunnels 1.6-mile corridor on a daily basis, and yet few know much about this amazing feat of early 20th-century engineering. How was it built, by whom, and at what cost? These and many other questions are answered in Highway Under the Hudson: A History of the Holland Tunnel, Robert W. Jackson's fascinating story about this seminal structure in the history of urban transportation.
Jackson explains the economic forces which led to the need for the tunnel, and details the extraordinary political and social politicking that took place on both sides of the Hudson River to finally enable its construction. He also introduces us to important figures in the tunnel´s history, such as New Jersey Governor Walter E. Edge, who, more than anyone else, made the dream of a tunnel a reality and George Washington Goethals (builder of the Panama Canal and namesake of the Goethals Bridge), the first chief engineer of the project.
Fully illustrated with more than 50 beautiful archival photographs and drawings, Jackson's story of the Holland Tunnel is one of great human drama, with heroes and villains, that illustrates how great things are accomplished, and at what price.
"Urban planner and National Park Service historian Jackson has documented historic bridges and highways in Texas, Iowa, and Pennsylvania. Now he offers exhaustive research on the creation of the Holland Tunnel, linking New York and New Jersey, the world's longest underwater tunnel when it opened in 1927. The rise of automobile travel was a major factor. Earlier, railroad-owned ferries transported 'almost all the city's food and fuel.' It was the first tunnel with a ventilation system to combat motor-vehicular fumes and thus became a model for all later vehicular tunnels. Jackson covers events that necessitated a tunnel, including plans, reports, political conflicts, contracts, and seven years of construction. Profiles are presented of the young chief engineer, Clifford Holland, and other key figures. An outstanding chapter on the mostly immigrant sandhogs details the hazardous working conditions that led to injuries and deaths. Holland himself had a 'complete mental breakdown' and died of heart failure two days before the tunnel was complete. Jackson has excavated a vast amount of information, bringing this authoritative history of a ground-breaking tunnel to life. 56 illus." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Highway under the Hudson tells a truly engaging story about a great engineering project....Robert Jackson has skillfully captured the political intrigue, technological challenge, and human drama associated with turning a dream into a reality." Henry Petroski,A.S.Vesic Civil Engineering Prof.,History Prof., Duke University; author of The Essential Engineer
"Robert Jackson has given us a terrific story--replete with important engineering challenges and men who braved the odds--and sometimes died --in building the Holland Tunnel." Jameson W. Doig,Research Professor in Government, Dartmouth College; author of Empire on the Hudson
"Written in a clear, engaging style, Highway under the Hudson exposes the complex social, political, and technological forces that converged in the construction of the Holland Tunnel. Equally adept at unraveling political machinations, visualizing and describing engineering techniques, portraying the dangerous working conditions of the "sandhogs" who dug the tunnel, and evoking the personalities of those who planned, financed, and engineered the project, Robert W. Jackson contributes an essential chapter in the history of New York City's infrastructure." Jeffrey L. Meikle,Professor of American Studies, University of Texas at Austin
"Robert Jackson has written a scholarly work. It explores human motivation, design ingenuity, dedication, sacrifice, and, ultimately, the imperfection of our human vision." Dario A. Gasparini,Professor of Civil Engineering, Case Western Reserve University
"Jackson has excavated a vast amount of information, bringing this authoritative history of a ground-breaking tunnel to life." Publisher's Weekly
Book News Annotation:
Jackson, a specialist in American history and public engineering, has written a full account of this engineering marvel, the world's longest underwater tunnel when it opened in 1927. Based on exhaustive research, the text describes the practical aspects of the building, the tasks and ordeals of the workers, and the engineering involved in building the tunnel and its model ventilation system. These details are presented along with the stories of the personalities, controversies, corruption, and conflicts among those in charge of the project and its funding, making this an unusually compelling read. The book includes a collection of b&w plates of the plans, design, and early and later views. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Robert W. Jackson is an urban planner and historian, and previously served as a historian for the Historic American Engineering Record, National Park Service, where he documented historic bridges and highways in Texas, Iowa and Pennsylvania. He holds a PhD in American Civilization from University of Texas, and is the author of Rails across the Mississippi: A History of the St. Louis Bridge. He currently lives in Austin, Texas.
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Engineering » Civil Engineering » General