By Henry Petroski
Petroski unearths the technological know-how and engineering--not to say the politics, egotism, and sheer magic--behind America's nice bridges, quite these developed throughout the nice bridge-building period beginning within the 1870s and carrying on with throughout the Thirties. it's the tale of the boys and girls who equipped the St. Louis, the George Washington, and the Golden Gate bridges, drawing not just on their mastery of numbers yet on their presents for persuasion and self-promotion. it really is an account of triumphs and ignominious failures (including the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which accurately twisted itself aside in a excessive wind). And all through this grandly enticing publication, Petroski we could us see how bridges turned the "symbols and souls" of our civilization, in addition to testaments to their developers' imaginative and prescient, ingenuity, and perseverance.
"Seamlessly linked...With spectacular scope and generosity of view, Mr. Petroski areas the culture of yankee bridge-building in perspective."--New York occasions booklet evaluate
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Extra info for Engineers of Dreams: Great Bridge Builders and the Spanning of America
30) Waddell turns out to have paid significantly extra cognizance to pictures of himself than to these of his bridges. The frontispiece of Bridge Engineering, for instance, is a photographic portrait of the writer. Waddell’s forelocks seem to have been intentionally curled, his lengthy mustache combed and waxed, and his lapel pinned with medals, one most likely that specific him Knight Commander, Order of the emerging solar, provided to him in Japan in 1888. the opposite medal is probably the single designating him Knight first-class, Order of Société de Bienfaisance of Grand Duchess Olga of Russia, provided to him in 1909 for his companies as central engineer of the Trans-Alaskan-Siberian Railroad undertaking. within the three-quarter-length portrait of a status Waddell that seemed because the frontispiece of his Memoirs and Addresses of 2 a long time, released in 1928, his head and facial hair seem unchanged, his gown is much more formal, and he activities 3 new medals. those most likely have been for the Order of Sacred Treasure, Japan (1921); Order of Chia Ho, China (1922); and Cavaliere of the Crown of Italy (1923). Waddell should have offered a majestic determine, and in his obituary the London magazine Engineering conferred upon him the identify “Pontifex Maximus,” which it famous that the English poet Robert Southey had bestowed on his good friend Thomas Telford. Waddell, like Telford, the magazine reasoned, have been in “possession of a structure it sounds as if detached to the rigours of box paintings in all weathers. ” Lindenthal, whose personal profession used to be then in its twilight, was once to be swayed neither by means of a portrait nor by way of the parable of Waddell the prolific writer, who in a biographical cartoon that can rather well were autobiographical was once acknowledged to write down out “in longhand his exact and well-finished papers and discussions in his place of work or in the course of a number of lengthy railroad journeys backward and forward around the continent. ” irrespective of how devoted to his writing Waddell could have been, Lindenthal anticipated it to face as much as engineering scrutiny. His easy technical feedback of the 1916 ebook was once properly summarized within the long evaluate: J. A. L. Waddell, from the frontispiece of Memoirs and Addresses (photo credits four. 31) The e-book … seems to be useful and authoritative merely in as far as it offers with the engineering of bridges of standard span and sort, that experience already develop into roughly standardized. while the writer ventures outdoor of this box into the area of long-span and indeterminate buildings, his insufficiency of information and adventure are betrayed [on the explicit pages cited], and his loss of clutch of the large questions during this box turns into obvious. this can sound like harsh feedback, however it seems to be justified in view of a few of the author’s pretentious yet inaccurate judgments on higher-class constructions. Lindenthal takes Waddell’s discussions of a number of themes as a chance to set the checklist instantly, as at the features of cantilever bridges, at the security of suspension bridges, and on aesthetics.