The first full biography of a crucial figure in the American story--Washington Roebling, builder of the Brooklyn Bridge.
"I know that nothing can be done perfectly at the first trial; I also know that each day brings its little quota of experiences, which with honest intentions, will lead to perfection after a while." --Washington Roebling
His father conceived of the Brooklyn Bridge, but after John Roebling's sudden death, Washington Roebling built what has become one of American's most iconic structures--as much a part of New York as the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building. Yet, as recognizable as the bridge is, its builder is too often forgotten--and his life is of interest far beyond his chosen field. It is the story of immigrants, of the frontier, of the greatest crisis in American history, and of the making of the modern world.
Forty years after the publication of The Great Bridge, David McCullough's classic chronicle of how the East River was spanned, Erica Wagner has written a fascinating biography of one of America's most distinguished engineers, a man whose long life was a model of courage in the face of extraordinary adversity. Chief Engineer is enriched by Roebling's own eloquent voice, unveiled in his recently-discovered memoir that was previously thought lost to history.
The memoir reveals that his father, John-a renowned engineer who made his life in America after humble beginnings in Germany-was a tyrannical presence in Washington's life, so his own adoption of that career was hard won. A young man when the Civil War broke out, Washington joined the Union Army, building bridges that carried soldiers across rivers and seeing action in many pivotal battles, from Antietam to Gettysburg-aspects of his life never before fully brought to light. Safely returned, he married the remarkable Emily Warren Roebling, who would play a crucial role in the construction of the unprecedented Brooklyn Bridge. It would be Washington Roebling's grandest achievement-but by no means the only one.
Elegantly written with a compelling narrative sweep, Chief Engineer will introduce Washington Roebling and his era to a new generation of readers.
Petroski reveals the science and engineering--not to mention the politics, egotism, and sheer magic--behind America's great bridges, particularly those constructed during the great bridge-building era starting in the 1870s and continuing through the 1930s. It is the story of the men and women who built the St. Louis, the George Washington, and the Golden Gate bridges, drawing not only on their mastery of numbers but on their gifts for persuasion and self-promotion. It is an account of triumphs and ignominious disasters (including the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which literally twisted itself apart in a high wind). And throughout this grandly engaging book, Petroski lets us see how bridges became the "symbols and souls" of our civilization, as well as testaments to their builders' vision, ingenuity, and perseverance.
"Seamlessly linked...With astonishing scope and generosity of view, Mr. Petroski places the tradition of American bridge-building in perspective."--New York Times Book Review
Introduction by Frank O. Gehry. Opening to a dazzling full-yard span, this panoramic tour introduces more than fifty of the world's greatest bridges in 200 high-quality black-&-white photographs and an engaging text that sheds light on the historical and technological background of constructions that range from the ancient Roman Pont du Gard to the newly constructed Tsing Ma bridge in Hong Kong.
For engineering students who have had an undergraduate course in signals and systems, including an introduction to frequency-domain methods of analyzing feedback control systems. The systems discussed are single input/single output and linear, operating in continuous time. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.
The author of Last Train to Paradise tells the story of the largest public water project ever created--William Mulholland's Los Angeles aqueduct--a story of Gilded Age ambition, hubris, greed, and one determined man who's vision shaped the future and continues to impact us today.
In 1907, Irish immigrant William Mulholland conceived and built one of the greatest civil engineering feats in history: the aqueduct that carried water 223 miles from the Sierra Nevada mountains to Los Angeles--allowing this small, resource-challenged desert city to grow into a modern global metropolis. Drawing on new research, Les Standiford vividly captures the larger-then-life engineer and the breathtaking scope of his six-year, $23 million project that would transform a region, a state, and a nation at the dawn of its greatest century.
With energy and colorful detail, Water to the Angels brings to life the personalities, politics, and power--including bribery, deception, force, and bicoastal financial warfare--behind this dramatic event. At a time when the importance of water is being recognized as never before--considered by many experts to be the essential resource of the twenty-first century--Water to the Angels brings into focus the vigor of a fabled era, the might of a larger than life individual, and the scale of a priceless construction project, and sheds critical light on a past that offers insights for our future.
Water to the Angels includes 8 pages of photographs.
One of Bill Gates's Favorite Books of 2016
A revelatory look at our national power grid--how it developed, its current flaws, and how it must be completely reimagined for our fast-approaching energy future.
America's electrical grid, an engineering triumph of the twentieth century, is turning out to be a poor fit for the present. It's not just that the grid has grown old and is now in dire need of basic repair. Today, as we invest great hope in new energy sources--solar, wind, and other alternatives--the grid is what stands most firmly in the way of a brighter energy future. If we hope to realize this future, we need to re-imagine the grid according to twenty-first-century values. It's a project which forces visionaries to work with bureaucrats, legislators with storm-flattened communities, moneymen with hippies, and the left with the right. And though it might not yet be obvious, this revolution is already well under way.
Cultural anthropologist Gretchen Bakke unveils the many facets of America's energy infrastructure, its most dynamic moments and its most stable ones, and its essential role in personal and national life. The grid, she argues, is an essentially American artifact, one which developed with us: a product of bold expansion, the occasional foolhardy vision, some genius technologies, and constant improvisation. Most of all, her focus is on how Americans are changing the grid right now, sometimes with gumption and big dreams and sometimes with legislation or the brandishing of guns.
The Grid tells--entertainingly, perceptively--the story of what has been called "the largest machine in the world" its fascinating history, its problematic present, and its potential role in a brighter, cleaner future.
A selection of 19 articles (most) first published in American Scientist by the engineer/author notable for his interest in giving engineers a broader sense of their field, and giving the general public an appreciation of the art and science of engineering. Among Petroski's previous works are The Evolution of Useful Things and To Engineer Is Human . Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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.
An illustrated field guide to the technology that keeps our cities and towns working.
The Spotter's Guide to Urban Engineering is a useful identification tool to the mysteries of how our cities are built and work.
Each spread identifies an example of urban engineering and describes what it is, how it works and why it is there. Annotated diagrams explain the technology, and location maps indicate noteworthy real-world examples. Most importantly for spotters, the book gives advice on how to identify these features and tips on where to spot them.
The book covers the main areas of engineering infrastructure. Concise descriptions begin with a brief introduction, a timeline tracing that area's development and a synopsis of facts and figures. More than 300 illustrations and a durable flexibound format allow for easy reference in the field.
The book covers:
- Managing raw materials, including mining, agriculture, waterworks and manufacturing
- Making power, including electricity grids, oil and gas extraction and distribution, and renewable energy
- Transport, including highways, railways, bridges, tunnels, canals and aviation
- Communications, including telephone, radio, television, satellites and digital technology
- Waste, including sewers, industrial and residential waste management, recycling.
The Spotter's Guide to Urban Engineering provides lay readers with a fascinating introduction to the technology that underpins modern life. Those contemplating a career in civil engineering will find the book of particular interest.
Humans have always sought to change their environment--building houses, monuments, temples, and roads. In the process, they have remade the fabric of the world into newly functional objects that are also works of art to be admired. In this second edition of his popular Existential Pleasures of Engineering, Samuel Florman explores how engineers think and feel about their profession.
A deeply insightful and refreshingly unique text, this book corrects the myth that engineering is cold and passionless. Indeed, Florman celebrates engineering not only crucial and fundamental but also vital and alive; he views it as a response to some of our deepest impulses, an endeavor rich in spiritual and sensual rewards. Opposing the "anti-technology" stance, Florman gives readers a practical, creative, and even amusing philosophy of engineering that boasts of pride in his craft.