Big Dams and Other Dreams: The Six Companies Story

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9780806128535: Big Dams and Other Dreams: The Six Companies Story

In this freewheeling saga of American industrial might, civil engineer Donald E. Wolf tells how a giant combine of firms, Six Companies, built the great Hoover, Bonneville, and Grand Coulee Dams and laid the foundations for the Golden Gate and San Francisco Bay Bridges. Then, as the Second World War threatened, the Six Companies executives - in new, ever-changing combinations - undertook ever more spectacular projects. Together they were to play a major role in developing the modern American West, through the wide variety of their enterprises at home and overseas.
Who were the men of Six Companies? The Bechtels designed and built much of the postwar infrastructure on a half-dozen continents, while constructing the world's largest engineering firm. Henry J. Kaiser created an industrial empire of steel, aluminum, chemicals, cement, automobiles, and health care. Marriner Eccles, who succeeded the Wattis bothers as the head of Utah Construction Company, also served as Franklin Roosevelt's chair of the Federal Reserve Board. Harry Morrison was head of the Morrison Knudsen Company, which dominated international construction in the mid-twentieth century. Charles Swigert and Philip Hart of Pacific Bridge, Felix Kahn of McDonald and Kahn, and the indomitable Charlie Shea all were original Six Companies partners, and each made invaluable contributions to American industry through massive construction projects.

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About the Author:

Donald E. Wolf is the former president and chief operating officer of Wolf and Company, a small engineering firm in New York State.

From Booklist:

The building of Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge has already been well chronicled in numerous books and documentaries as spectacular feats of engineering and costly human achievements. Other than Joseph Stevens' notable Hoover Dam: An American Adventure (1988), however, most accounts barely mention the considerable and complicated business transactions, financial deals, and corporate partnerships that were required to complete these and other New Deal public works marvels in the West. Engineer Wolf details the story of the Six Companies partnership that was originally formed to build the Hoover Dam and went on to build the Bonneville and Grand Coulee Dams, lay the foundations for the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, and construct tunnels, pipelines, aqueducts, and military bases throughout the western U.S. Wolf traces the successes that were accomplished by the partners, including the Bechtes, Henry Kaiser, Marriner Eccles (who was appointed by Franklin Roosevelt to chair the Federal Reserve), and Harry Morrison of Morrison Knudsen. David Rouse

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Donald E. Wolf, Richard Lowitt (Foreword)
Published by University of Oklahoma Press (1996)
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Donald E. Wolf
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Wolf, Donald E.
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