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The Path Between the Seas


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About the Author

David McCullough has twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for Truman and John Adams, and twice received the National Book Award, for The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback. His other acclaimed books include The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, Brave Companions, 1776, The Greater Journey, The American Spirit, and The Wright Brothers. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award. Visit


First, a glorious vision of what might be animates worldwide imaginations: a canal to bisect the New World whereby commerce in vast quantities would pass more cheaply than anyone had heretofore dreamed. France in particular had the vision and the man for the job: Ferdinand de Lesseps, who had led the construction of the Suez Canal. A long back and forth about the new canal's route several times almost gave the nod to Honduras. Then, what type of canal should it be, sea level or lock based? Meanwhile, the Isthmus of Panama festered-a malarial swamp interspersed with high mountains, awash in bubbling mud, sick with yellow fever. Pulitzer Prize winner McCullough gathers all these threads and adds the human drama: engineers who underestimated the challenge; their families, many of whom died from the yellow fever; and black workers from the Caribbean who were better paid than they could have been elsewhere. The engineering was spectacular; the locks still function flawlessly today. McCullough's careful research and genius for narrative come brilliantly through; distinguished actor Edward Herrmann adds just the proper gravitas and warmth. The very fine combination should be welcome in history collections in any type of library.-Don Wismer, Cary Memorial Lib., Wayne, ME Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

The Washington Star David McCullough's history of this extraordinary construction job between the Atlantic and Pacific is everything history ought to be. It is dramatic, accurate...and altogether gripping.
The Washington Post Book World Solid, entertainingly written and fair-minded...McCullough unravels the complicated and sometimes deliberately obscured story that lies behind the Panama Canal.
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt The New York Times A chunk of history full of giant-sized characters and rich in political skullduggery.
The New York Daily News In the hands of McCullough, the digging of the great ditch becomes a kind of peacetime epic...The book will absorb you...You won't want to put it down once you've started reading it.
Newsweek McCullough is a storyteller with the capacity to steer readers through political, financial, and engineering intricacies without fatigue or muddle. This is grand-scale, expert work.

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