The Great Bridge

The Great Bridge Summary

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.

Book Reviews


Great5 star

My favorite McCullough book55


Utterly boring and unreadable1 star

Writing style is not fluent15


Great book5 star

Couldn't put it down- imagery is as if I was there in the 19th Century watching this 8th Wonder of the World be constructed before my very eyes.55


Great!5 star

Fascinating and detailed book. A book I I couldn't easily put down!55


Awe-inspiring story5 star

Excellent writing and historical account of one of our greatest American symbols and engineering accomplishments. The genius of the Roeblings and dedication of the men who built the bridge is awesome and inspirational.55


The Great Bridge5 star

An excellent work that gives insight into the building of the Brooklyn Bridge along with lots of information about the historic time period.55


A good read5 star

The book is detailed and reminds one how current issues were ever present even during that age. Enjoyed the book and the journey of the bridge and the builders.55


Great book5 star

Really enjoyed it. The stories within a story are fascinating. As good as The Path between the Seas.55


The Great Bridge - Totally Absorbing5 star

This book reads like like a well written novel. I had a difficult time putting it down. The Engineering details, the character descriptions, the political and social interactions and the descriptions of life in Brooklyn and New York in the latter part of the 19th century are amazing. If you need a book on the disciplines and processes of Project Management, from writing a project charter to closing procurements, this is it. I felt like I was in a classroom with the best professor I ever had. A real stand out for me with this book were the detailed descriptions of the opening ceremonies. Mr. McCullough misses no detail and allows the reader to relive the excitement, pride and sense of accomplishment celebrated that day. If you want a book that is totally absorbing and inspiring, read The Great Bridge.55


Absorbing5 star

Wonderful feel for the political and social times of New York & Brooklyn coupled with the massive undertaking in engineering a bridge that still draws millions of visitors.55

Other Books by David McCullough

The Wright Brothers


The Wright Brothers
4.5     718


4     662
The Greater Journey


The Greater Journey
3.5     704

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