Conquering Gotham

Conquering Gotham : Building Penn Station and Its Tunnels

3.93 (550 ratings by Goodreads)
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"Superb. [A] first-rate narrative" (The Wall Street Journal) about the controversial construction of New York's beloved original Penn Station and its tunnels, from the author of Eiffel's Tower and Urban Forests As bestselling books like Ron Chernow's Titan and David McCullough's The Great Bridge affirm, readers are fascinated with the grand personalities and schemes that populated New York at the close of the nineteenth century. Conquering Gotham re- creates the riveting struggle waged by the great Pennsylvania Railroad to build Penn Station and the monumental system of tunnels that would connect water-bound Manhattan to the rest of the continent by rail. Historian Jill Jonnes tells a ravishing tale of snarling plutocrats, engineering feats, and backroom politicking packed with the most colorful figures of Gilded Age New York. Conquering Gotham will be featured in an upcoming episdoe of PBS's American Experience.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 137.16 x 208.28 x 17.78mm | 408.23g
  • Penguin Books
  • English
  • Reprint
  • Maps; Illustrations, black and white
  • 0143113240
  • 9780143113249
  • 724,931

Review quote

Praise for Conquering Gotham "In the tradition of David McCullough's narratives of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Panama Canal . . . Intelligent history about building an indispensable part of our infrastructure."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "Superb . . . [A] first-rate narrative."
--The Wall Street Journal "A readable and human account of how a few visionaries from the Pennsylvania Railroad connected the rest of the country to the nation's greatest port, and how their Philadelphia-centric perspective doomed the world's greatest train station."
--The New York Times "Impeccably researched and ravishingly detailed . . . delightful popular history."
--San Francisco Chronicle "Lush and lovely prose."
--The Baltimore Sun "Conquering Gotham is a well-written and well-researched account of an astoundingly ambitious undertaking. Ms. Jonnes skillfully weaves together the multifarious aspects of the project, from the technical complexities and political wrangling to the personalities of Cassatt and McKim."
--New York Observer "What's clear from her riveting story is that it was every bit as hard to build great projects then as now--perhaps even harder."
--New York Post "New York City's Pennsylvania Station's sweeping story, involving engineering challenges, an inflexibly honest corporation leader, flexibly corrupt politicians, and street-level sociology, comes together marvelously in Jonnes' admiring history of the undertaking."
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About Dr Jill Jonnes

Jill Jonnes is the author of Conquering Gotham, Urban Forests, Conquering Gotham, Empires of Light, and South Bronx Rising. She was named a National Endowment for the Humanities scholar and has received several grants from the Ford Foundation. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
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Rating details

550 ratings
3.93 out of 5 stars
5 27% (147)
4 45% (245)
3 24% (134)
2 4% (23)
1 0% (1)
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