Synopses & Reviews
Petroski reveals the science and engineering (not to mention the politics, egotism, and sheer magic) behind America's great bridges, particularly those constructed during the great bridge-building era starting in the 1870s and continuing through the 1930s. It is the story of the men and women who built the St. Louis, the George Washington, and the Golden Gate bridges, drawing not only on their mastery of numbers but on their gifts for persuasion and self-promotion. It is an account of triumphs and ignominious disasters (including the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which literally twisted itself apart in a high wind). And throughout this grandly engaging book, Petroski lets us see how bridges became the "symbols and souls" of our civilization, as well as testaments to their builders' vision, ingenuity, and perseverance.
"Seamlessly linked....With astonishing scope and generosity of view, Mr. Petroski places the tradition of American bridge-building in perspective." The New York Times Book Review
"[D]elightful dilations about technology....A fascinating raconteur of ambitions and structural successes and failures, Petroski elevates these vaulting bridges into the epics and icons their builders intended." Gilbert Taylor, Booklist
"Skillful....A paean to the delicate balance of art and science that the best bridges represent." Washington Post Book World
"Petroski...is one of the better scientist-writers around, and this book is in several ways his best....Excellent for general collections and perfect for collections in the applied arts and sciences." Library Journal
About the Author
Henry Petroski is the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and a professor of history at Duke University. He is the author of nine other books.