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The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge

Abridged / Go to Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: David McCullough

Narrated By: Edward Herrmann

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date: July 2004

Duration: 11 hours 0 minutes


The dramatic and enthralling story of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, the world’s longest suspension bridge at the time, a tale of greed, corruption, and obstruction but also of optimism, heroism, and determination, told by master historian David McCullough.

This monumental book is the enthralling story of one of the greatest events in our nation’s history, during the Age of Optimism—a period when Americans were convinced in their hearts that all things were possible.

In the years around 1870, when the project was first undertaken, the concept of building an unprecedented bridge to span the East River between the great cities of Manhattan and Brooklyn required a vision and determination comparable to that which went into the building of the great cathedrals. Throughout the fourteen years of its construction, the odds against the successful completion of the bridge seemed staggering. Bodies were crushed and broken, lives lost, political empires fell, and surges of public emotion constantly threatened the project. But this is not merely the saga of an engineering miracle; it is a sweeping narrative of the social climate of the time and of the heroes and rascals who had a hand in either constructing or exploiting the surpassing enterprise.


  • jandob

    This book presented detail about the people and the machinations behind the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. It was fascinating. I loved how the details of streets and neighborhoods that were affected were included. How they did this in that time and place is truly amazing. Enjoyed it very much.

  • Malinda Moore

    I listened to this book after listening to McCullough's fascinating THE GREATER JOURNEY. Both books were compelling looks at 19th century history. This book offered amazing insight into one of the great feats of modern engineering, the politics that could have stopped its construction all together and the amazing men (and at least one woman) involved at every level. Highly recommend.

  • Tom Flickinger

    Listened to this book only because I fell in love with the Wright Brothers book from McCullough. I was not disappointed as the author allowed me to stand beside the great engineers of the bridge as it was being constructed. I think I suffered symptoms the bends as did the actual workers. Love McCullough and all he writes.

  • Anonymous

    I got this book to listen to purely because of the author. I really wondered how interesting a book could be on building a bridge but boy was I wrong! This book had me listening at all hours of the night, and I really felt like I was there participating in the story. This isn't about building a bridge, it's about real people and their stories. It brought history to life, and I'd love someday to go check the bridge out. Well done from start to finish.

  • Anonymous

    This book was really fascinating. Not ever having lived in New York I was more interested in this book to learn about NY in the early 19th Century and the trials and tribulations associated with building a bridge back then. What I learned was all of that, and more. Now, I want to fly to NY and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. This is classic McCullough, I would highly recommend. It was also very well read!

  • Anonymous

    I listened to this book awhile ago and am finally getting around to writing the review. All I can say is I found this book and the techniques used to build the brige very interesting.

  • DJG

    As with all David McCullough I have listen to this rates right up there with the rest. A well read and interesting history, so enterlaced with such facts that I find it hard to turn off my engine and go inside. A great listen with a great reader.

  • Frank Racioppi

    This book excels at describing one of the great feats of modern engineering, while also providing the reader with a looking-glass view of the late 19th century in New York. John and Washington Roebling are fascinating characters that will win your admiration and empathy.

Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge

by David McCullough

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Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge, David McCullough