Engineers of Dreams
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Engineers of Dreams : Great Bridge Builders and the Spanning of America

3.73 (119 ratings by Goodreads)
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In his previous books, Henry Petroski has initiated us into the hidden mysteries of such everyday artifacts as the lead pencil, the paper clip, the zipper, and the Post-it note. Now, with Engineers of Dreams, he makes a jump in scale to contemplate those "dry paths" across the rivers and inlets of our cities, those "hard crossings" over the gulches and ravines of our countrysides, those eminently practical but inescapably aesthetic edifices that persist in taking our breath away (when we're not taking them for granted): bridges. The great era of American bridge building - which from the 1870s through the 1930s gave us such landmarks as the Eads Bridge across the Mississippi, the Hell Gate Bridge across the East River, the George Washington Bridge across the Hudson, and the Golden Gate Bridge at the mouth of San Francisco Bay - called for a special breed of engineer: equal parts dreamer, inventor, and entrepreneur. Since the building of any bridge is necessarily a collaborative effort, engineers of dissimilar philosophies and all-too-similar egos were thrown together on project after project, making for an ongoing, interwoven human and technological drama.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 479 pages
  • 132.08 x 195.58 x 27.94mm | 453.59g
  • Random House USA Inc
  • Vintage Books
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • B&W ART THROUGHOUT
  • 0679760210
  • 9780679760214
  • 512,714

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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."--New York Times Book Reviewshow more

About Henry Petroski

Henry Petroski is the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and a professor of history at Duke University, where he also serves as chairman of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The author of more than 15 books, he has received grants from the National Science Foundation and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Humanities Center.show more

Rating details

119 ratings
3.73 out of 5 stars
5 24% (29)
4 39% (46)
3 26% (31)
2 8% (10)
1 3% (3)
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