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The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914

The Path Between the Seas The Creation of the Panama Canal On December after nearly a century of rule the United States officially ceded ownership of the Panama Canal to the nation of Panama That nation did not exist when in the mid th century

  • Title: The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914
  • Author: David McCullough
  • ISBN: 9780743262132
  • Page: 117
  • Format: Hardcover
  • On December 31, 1999, after nearly a century of rule, the United States officially ceded ownership of the Panama Canal to the nation of Panama That nation did not exist when, in the mid 19th century, Europeans first began to explore the possibilities of creating a link between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans through the narrow but mountainous isthmus Panama was then a reOn December 31, 1999, after nearly a century of rule, the United States officially ceded ownership of the Panama Canal to the nation of Panama That nation did not exist when, in the mid 19th century, Europeans first began to explore the possibilities of creating a link between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans through the narrow but mountainous isthmus Panama was then a remote and overlooked part of Colombia.All that changed, writes David McCullough in his magisterial history of the Canal, in 1848, when prospectors struck gold in California A wave of fortune seekers descended on Panama from Europe and the eastern United States, seeking quick passage on California bound ships in the Pacific, and the Panama Railroad, built to serve that traffic, was soon the highest priced stock listed on the New York Exchange To build a 51 mile long ship canal to replace that railroad seemed an easy matter to some investors But, as McCullough notes, the construction project came to involve the efforts of thousands of workers from many nations over four decades eventually those workers, laboring in oppressive heat in a vast malarial swamp, removed enough soil and rock to build a pyramid a mile high In the early years, they toiled under the direction of French entrepreneur Ferdinand de Lesseps, who went bankrupt while pursuing his dream of extending France s empire in the Americas The United States then entered the picture, with President Theodore Roosevelt orchestrating the purchase of the canal but not before helping foment a revolution that removed Panama from Colombian rule and placed it squarely in the American camp.

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    1 thought on “The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914

    1. My uncle recommended it. I had barely started it when we left on a cruise of the Panama Canal, sailing from LA. This book is a detailed, non-fiction account of France's selection of the canal site in Central America, the politics, diseases, intrigues, and construction of locks and "Big Dig". I forgot all about the cruise ship activities and buried myself in this book. It awoke the "inner engineer" in me that I didn't know I had. I read it desperately night and day, hoping to finish before reachi [...]

    2. Something very strange happens about 30% through "Path Between the Seas." For the first 1/3 of the book, the reader must trudge through pedantic descriptions of very trivial matters and a hodgepodge of boring discussions on all things nautical. Then, all of a sudden McCullough does something amazing: he reminds you that people- everyday ordinary people -really cared about the Panama Canal, what it could do and what it would mean. And when it nearly failed, even though we are talking about people [...]

    3. My whole life is a lie! My favorite palindrome is BOGUS. I mean, sure, it's still a palindrome, but it's just not true!A MAN, A PLAN, A CANAL, PANAMA!A M A N A P L A N A C A N A L P A N A M AThere wasn't "a" man, there wasn't even "a" plan. There were like, a dozen men, all with various plans! It was almost built in Nicaragua! The one guy with a decent plan from the beginning was ignored and his plan sat unnoticed in a file somewhere, while the rest of them ran around, killing thousands of worke [...]

    4. CONSUMMATELY BORING. (AND YET…) “The United States had a mandate from civilization to build the canal, he [Theodore Roosevelt] told Congress on January 4, 1904…”—page 387Reading very much like an eighth-grade textbook— pedantically packed with a densely detailed, confusing, and virtually meaningless litany of facts, figures, names and dates—especially the first two-thirds of David McCullough’s behemoth, THE PATH BETWEEN THE SEAS: The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870-1914 present [...]

    5. This is a tough book to rate. If you are a history nerd like myself then this book probably deserves the 4 stars that I have given it. However, if you are a more normal person and reader then this book would probably get three, maybe even two stars, because it can easily be mind-numbingly boring. The reason for this difference of opinion is almost certainly the length and the depth of detail. The book is 617 pages of text and I have to admit that 150-200 pages could probably have been chopped to [...]

    6. You wouldn't think that a book detailing the creation of the Panama Canal would be an exciting and quick read. Well, you'd be wrong! I love David McCullough, I think he is flat-out the best biographer out there as well as being one hell of a history author. 1776 is my favorite book about the American revolution. The Path Between the Seas had me so interested in geology, Central American politics, jungle wildlife, topography, stuff that I would never have thought I would be interested in. It's no [...]

    7. This book tells the complete story of the building of the Panama Canal, beginning with the French efforts from 1870 to about 1889, and then continuing with the U.S. completion from 1902 to 1914. I found the parts describing the actual building of the canal (by both the French and the U.S.) to be the most interesting parts of the book. I was much less interested in the political machinations dealing with the U.S. - Columbia negotiations and the U.S. assistance in the creation of the Republic of P [...]

    8. I wasn't sure whether to award 4 or 5 stars to this book until I realized that my withholding a star had more to do with me than the book. In his typically lucid prose, McCullough wrote a complete history of the building of the Canal. The research was impeccable; the book deserves all the accolades it received. From the disastrous French attempt at building it to the American struggles and finally success, the reader is given the full story. The egos involved always meant that there would be con [...]

    9. It takes a lot of slogging through statistics to read this book, which is what you expect from David McCollough. At times the story gets mired in a lot of detail that I'll never remember. However, I did enjoy the book and what I learned that I think I'll keep. My biggest criticism is the lack of maps. What I learned:1. The French were the first to attempt a canal across the isthmus in Central America. This was due to the unflagging zeal of Ferdinand de Lesseps, who was instrumental in the buildi [...]

    10. Probably no one writes more complete – and exhaustive – histories than David McCullough. In “The Path Between the Seas,” one of his earlier works (1977), McCullough guides you through the political, financial, and engineering intricacies of building the Panama Canal, a modern wonder of the world. It’s a fascinating read, especially if you enjoy history, politics and geography. The opening of the canal – and control – allowed the United States to maintain a two-ocean navy, and provi [...]

    11. A couple of weeks ago, I was discussing my recent string of books chronicling enormous engineering projects (“The Great Bridge,” the World’s Fair part of “The Devil in the White City” and now “The Path Between the Seas”) with my friend Paul, and as I relayed the sacrifices made and the years dedicated by the men behind these works, Paul remarked, “Dude, can you imagine dedicating your life to building a f*cking bridge?” On many levels, this insight is full of wisdom. The engine [...]

    12. McCullough, David. THE PATH BETWEEN THE SEAS: The Creation of the Panama Canal – 1870-1914. (1977). ****. Deemed a popular history, this immense study is more of a scholarly text. The book won the National Book Award for history in 1977 and was a best seller. McCullough, as usual, has done his research and has provided the history of the canal from its inception in the late nineteenth century by the French to its final completion by the Americans in 1914, at about the time of the start of WW I [...]

    13. David McCullough is one of my favorite authors, however, a book on the Panama Canal wasn't something I was really interested in until I found the book some years later at a used book sale and decided to give it a try. Like many Americans my only knowledge of the Panama Canal was what I read in the textbooks--the United States built the Canal after curing yellow fever. That is such an oversimplified viewpoint that it is almost untrue. It was pretty surprising to find out that the French had origi [...]

    14. Tan titánico como el tema que aborda, este libro es sorprendentemente ligero de leer.David McCullough tiene un estilo de escribir que recoge lo más importante de las personas y los hechos sin hacerte sentir que te está dando un listado de cosas pero tampoco sin distraerte con detalles que no son fundamentales para entender a las personalidades y situaciones de las que se desprendió una de las construcciones más impresionantes que haya hecho la humanidad. Considerando el alcance y las dimens [...]

    15. I read this out loud to Dan. I really didn't think we'd finish before we left for Panama, but we did it! And this book is loooong. I really enjoyed it though. This is the first McCullough book I've read and I'm incredibly impressed with the amount of research he puts into his writing and loved all the details. It made seeing the Canal so much more impressive. I only wish McCullough would have gone into a little more depth with the actual engineering of the canal, but the politics behind the proj [...]

    16. A riveting window into another eraFrench first and then American. An audacious dream and a stunning feat. Personalities, politics, sciencetiming. Tragedy, failures and stupendous success. We will be visiting the Panama Canal next month. It will be a far richer experience having read this beautifully written history.

    17. I'm listening to this on Audible and I can't go on. Just leave me here on the shores of the Chagras River to be swallowed up by the next rainy season. Maybe I'll rally like the Americans and finish the job, but I'm gonna need to take a break and dry out first.

    18. Like every other David McCullough book I have read, I thoroughly enjoyed The Path Between the Seas. Will be traveling to Panama in 2 weeks, though not sure if will see the canal, but thought it would be interesting to learn more about its creation. McCullough book gives the rich drama that was behind this amazing engineering accomplishment. The book has two major parts: the valiant but costly failed first attempt by the French to build the canal and the successful second attempt by the Americans [...]

    19. I read this book while I was on a cruise from Houston to Seattle on the NCL Jewel, so I got to see the Big Ditch up close and in live-living-colore experience! It was amazing that I went through the same locks that have been in operation since 1914 and the same locks that my Dad passed through on the Battleship Iowa during WWII from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean. The book tells the story of the men and women who fought against overwhelming odds to construct a passageway between the oceans fr [...]

    20. Exhaustive and exhausting! I had wanted to read this book for some time having visited Panama and seen the mighty canal achievement for myself. The book is a challenge; long and densely packed with detail, some more interesting to me than others. At times I wanted the rambling political descriptions to be over. However I was fascinated by the in-depth history of the project in terms of medicine and the grave impact disease had on the whole enterprise. Panama is a place of stark contrasts with it [...]

    21. In December 1998, while stationed in Panama with the Air Force, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to "open" the locks at Miraflores on the Panama Canal. I was a young E-3 at the time but I worked on the administrative staff of the base commander. Due to the upcoming closure of the military bases and transfer of the canal to the Panamanian government in 1999, visits from US Senators were somewhat frequent. It was during once such senatorial visit that my commander invited me along (he usua [...]

    22. This was a very interesting and informative book on the dream of connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans with the Panama Canal. The book starts with the involvement of the famous French designer and construction manager of the Suez Canal and France's eventual failure, and finishes with the US completing the job. It contains all the engineering difficulties, political intrgue, medical discoveries, labor relations management , and construction management challenges you could ask for. With the c [...]

    23. Lengthy, but McCullough's historical writing reads like an adventure story, and he really sets the stage with historical events surrounding this engineering feat. Yellow fever, malaria, political skulduggery, heroes and villains all play an active role in this story.

    24. I found this book lurking in my Kindle library (we have a family sharing library, and I have literate children). I decided to read it simply because it was written by David McCullough. I have read several books by this author who is probably the greatest living American historian. No matter how familiar I think I am with a subject, McCullough fills in blanks I didn't know existed in the most intelligent, complete, and readable way.I was fascinated by the French experience in its attempt at build [...]

    25. This was a wonderful book by one of my favorite authors, David McCullough, on the building of the Panama Canal. I have had this book on my shelf for a long time, but hesitated to read it because it was the last of David McCullough’s books that I hadn’t read, and I didn’t want to finish reading all his books! I knew that I would enjoy the engineering aspect of this story, but didn’t realize how many other sides of this story would be completely fascinating. Here are a few details of the s [...]

    26. McCullough deserves 5 stars for the incredible depth and breadth of information presented here. At times, the book warranted no more than 3 stars, for the detail can get tiresome. Hence my 4 stars. I learned so much about the building of the Panama Canal, and McCullough doesn’t restrict his book to the engineering feats, which are stupendous. He also explores the Panamanian culture, the rampant diseases, the diverse work force and accompanying social divisions, and so much more. The more I rea [...]

    27. It is one thing to have a vision but quite another to bring that vision to fruition. David McCullough introduces the reader to the dreamers, the schemers, the builders, the organizers, the financiers, the politicians, and many others who eventually made the dream a reality- a canal (or water bridge) connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The book is comprehensive spanning the time from Columbus (1502) until the canal's completion in 1914 crediting the many individuals from Ferdinand de Less [...]

    28. I read this with the idea that we would be traveling to the Canal, in an upcoming trip. While we haven't planned that yet, the history of this era and what was accomplished is truly amazing. So many twists and turns with the French being involved, with the possibility of the canal being constructed in Nicaragua instead and all of the sanitary challenges, made this a very, very interesting book. I highly recommend this book and I just heard that they are expanding the canal to accommodate the eve [...]

    29. Since we will soon be going through the Panama Canal, hubby and I read this incredibly well-researched history of it. Now that we've read the book, we cannot imagine seeing the canal without reading this first, as we now know exactly what transpired to make this modern wonder of the world possible. One of the most shocking of the statistics was the loss of life - 500 lives for every mile. McCullough made what could have been a very dry read extremely fascinating. We can't wait to see!

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