Framing the Dialogue

The Path Between The Seas

image“Yet they [the locks] were something much more than monumental; they did not, like a bridge or a cathedral, simply stand there; they worked.  They were made of concrete and they were made of literally thousands of moving parts.  Large essential elements were not built, but were manufactured, made in Pittsburgh, Wheeling, Schenectady, and other cities.  In a very real sense they were colossal machines, the largest yet conceived, and in their final, finished form they would function quite as smoothly as a Swiss watch.”

In The Path Between the Seas author David McCullough takes us on a detailed, forty-four year journey of the creation, manufacture, digging of the Panama Canal.  As usual for Mr. McCullough, he provides exquisite detail of the canal’s construction starting with the French attempt and finally the American success.  The battles were many from mudslides to mosquitoes, from politicians to bankers, and everything in between.

This not for the faint of heart, but as a civil engineer I found the level of detail daunting yet necessary to illustrate the vastness of the undertaking.  Reading this only made me want to learn more about the canal.


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