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Since human time first began, men have needed to cross streams and valleys, span chasms and torrents—and have found ways of getting to the other side. In this sweeping historic survey, Joseph Gies, author of Adventure Underground: The Story of the World’s Great Tunnels, recounts for our pleasure the history of bridges through the ages.
From the first vines thrown across small streams to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge across the entrance to New York Harbor and to plans for possible bridges across the English Channel and the Straits of Messina, Mr. Gies interests us in the men who dreamed bridges and built them; in the terrible catastrophes of bridges that collapsed—including that across the First of Tay and “Galloping Gertie” across the Tacoma Narrows; in painters and poets and novelists who have found their inspiration in or on bridges.
In large part, that is, BRIDGES AND MEN is about practical visionaries who combined the genius of engineers and architects, the talents of propagandists and business men: The Bridge Brothers, who built the world-faced Pont d’Avignon; Jean-Rodolphe Perronet, who built the Pont de la Concorde; john Rennie, the Scottish farmer boy who built New London Bridge; George and Robert Stephenson, who invented the railroad and railroad bridge; and Thomas Telford, who bridged the ocean at Menai Strait.