9780393052336

Wedding of the Waters: The Erie Canal and the Making of a Great Nation

Bernstein, Peter L.

ISBN 10: 0393052338 / 0-393-05233-8
ISBN 13: 9780393052336
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: 2005
Binding: Hardcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:
The building of the Erie Canal in the first quarter of the nineteenth century is one of the greatest and most riveting stories of American ingenuity. Featuring a rich cast of characters, including not only political visionaries like Washington and Jefferson but also a huge platoon of Irish diggers as well as the canal's first travellers, Wedding of the Waters reveals that the twenty-first-century themes of urbanisation, economic growth and globalisation can all be traced to the first great macroengineering venture of American history.

Review:
Begun in 1817 and completed in 1825, the Erie Canal stretches 363 miles across upstate New York from Buffalo on Lake Erie to Albany on the Hudson River. A stunning achievement, the canal was hacked through a densely forested pass in the Appalachian Mountains using only axes, shovels, low-grade explosive power, beasts of burden, and some ingenious devices. The engineers and workers created locks, bypassed rapids and waterfalls, and adjusted to countless changes in elevation. When the canal was completed it became one of the wonders of the world. But the canal was much more than a spectacular construction project; it also served to bind a young United States to itself and the rest of the world in one bold stroke. In this thoroughly absorbing book, Peter Bernstein describes in vivid detail how the Erie Canal helped to shape the United States into a great nation by connecting the eastern seaboard and western expanses of America, as well as propel the Industrial Revolution and stimulate global trade, economics, and immigration. It was so important to the development of the U.S., argues Bernstein, that without the canal the detached western territories "would in all likelihood have broken away" and created another, if not several, separate countries. Manifest Destiny would have been denied.

In telling this gripping tale, the author offers a brief history of canals through the ages, explains the foresight exhibited by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson regarding the need for a waterway to the west, and outlines the political wars, financing challenges, and seemingly endless delays and false starts to the project. He also reveals much about the political landscape of early America through his profiles of the personalities and visionaries who devoted their lives to the project, along with the engineers and surveyors, most of whom had little experience designing or constructing a canal of any kind, much less such a massive undertaking. Wedding of the Waters succeeds brilliantly in bringing this rich story to life. --Shawn Carkonen

Review

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Book Description: W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2005. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. This epic history traces the creation of the manmade Erie Canal between the Hudson River and Lake Erie in New York State, which was used by pioneers as an early stage in their travels leading to the expansion and exploration of the nation's interior. The book is a Stated First Edition, with a complete "number line" starting with a "1" to indicate First Printing. It is bound in beige boards with an aqua spine and die-stamped gilt spine titles. The book includes some maps and period illustrations, including insert portraits of the men most responsible for the canal. The book measures 6 3/8 by 9 1/2 inches and includes 448 pages with Index. Bookseller Inventory # 001813

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