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A Thread Across the Ocean: The Heroic Story of the Transatlantic Cableby John Steele Gordon
Synopses & Reviews
Today, in a world in which news flashes around the globe in an instant, time lags are inconceivable. In the mid-nineteenth century, communication between the United States and Europe?the center of world affairs?was only as quick as the fastest ship could cross the Atlantic, making the United States isolated and vulnerable.
But in 1866, the Old and New Worlds were united by the successful laying of a cable across the Atlantic. John Steele Gordon's book chronicles this extraordinary achievement?the brainchild of American businessman Cyrus Field and one of the greatest engineering feats of the nineteenth century. An epic struggle, it required a decade of effort, numerous failed attempts, millions of dollars in capital, a near disaster at sea, the overcoming of seemingly insurmountable technological problems, and uncommon physical, financial, and intellectual courage. Bringing to life an overlooked story in the annals of technology, John Steele Gordon sheds fascinating new light on this American saga that literally changed the world.
Book News Annotation:
Before the intervention of the electronic telegraph, news moved at the speed of humans or, in the case of information crossing the Atlantic Ocean, at the speed of ships. American businessman Cyrus Field is give the lion's share of the credit for changing that situation in this work describing his twelve years and five attempts at laying the transatlantic cable between Newfoundland and Ireland. The failures and successes of Field's activities are here recounted in a narrative that focuses equally on problems of technology and problems of business. This is a paper edition reprint of a 2002 book.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Shedding fascinating new light on an American saga, Gordon explores the laying of the transatlantic cable in 1866?one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th century. Maps, line drawings, and halftones.
About the Author
John Steele Gordon is a columnist for American Heritage and the author of A Thread Across the Ocean, The Great Game, Hamilton's Blessing, and The Scarlet Woman of Wall Street. His writing has appeared in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He lives in North Salem, New York.
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Engineering » Communications » Telephony