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  1. The Path Between the Seas Summaries
  2. The Path Between the Seas | Book by David McCullough | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster
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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. On December 31, , 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 midth 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 re On December 31, , 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 midth 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.

The Path Between the Seas Summaries

All that changed, writes David McCullough in his magisterial history of the Canal, in , 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 mile-long ship canal to replace that railroad seemed an easy matter to some investors.

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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.

Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. Published June 1st by Simon Schuster first published June 1st More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Path Between the Seas , please sign up. There are no maps? Heather Not really. Instead pictures of dead white guys.

See all 6 questions about The Path Between the Seas…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Apr 13, Ellen rated it it was amazing.

The Path Between the Seas | Book by David McCullough | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster

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 My uncle recommended it. I read it desperately night and day, hoping to finish before reaching the canal.

Cruise ship stage shows? Cocktails with the captain? Forget it!

Path Between the Seas Audiobook by David McCullough

I did manage to finish the book before reaching Panama. Then I found that the travel across the Isthmus was as intense as the book itself. I couldn't bear to see particular shores of the canal floating by, anonymous and silent. Other parts were as thrilling as a fairy tale for the young. Upon reaching the Atlantic, I found myself in tears. That tells you how this book can change your outlook.. A year later, the wonder is still with me. View all 3 comments.

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 who have been dead upwards of 70 years, you feel bad for them. Its that empathy that is a true gift in this book. The story begins in the s as France celebrates the completion of the Suez canal. It then is destroyed- almost literally -in a war with Germany.


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After its crushing, psyche-changing defeat, France decides to continue the war not on the field of battle where it would have been destroyed again but in the great works of the world- the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, the Suez Canal and finally the Panama Canal. The French engage in a long struggle to bridge the gap between the oceans, and this stirs up a great sense of national pride that the lost war rendered silent before.

Suddenly, men and women invest heavily in major corporations to get the canal built, for progress, and for France! But as the book illustrates, France is not what it once was; they misjudge almost everything about the project- the time, the cost, the distance, even the route and how the canal will look. In time, France is entangled in one of the most celebrated failures in history.

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But as the book points out, this is unfair. Its here that the books truest strength lies: when describing how all the average investors in France took the news of the loss- there was basically crying in the streets and the market tanked because of France's despondency over its failure. It really was like Sedan all over again.

You feel for these people- the struggled mightily and almost did the impossible. Yet at the same time, it clearly illustrated the illusory strength and resolve of France at this time. France was a nation on the decline and its inability to rationalize the Panama Canal, execute the plans, and face its challenges were all signs of a faltering people. Enter the United States. A nation on the rise, the US has men, supplies and an economy ready to tackle any problem, including building a canal for its own purposes.

The US not only decides to take over the canal project, but almost as an after-thought, helps stir up a rebellion in Columbia so that the nation known as Panama rebels and forms its own government. Thus, the US has a friendly ally to welcome their intervention and build the canal. The book does a solid job describing the people, both the named principals and the relatively faceless masses of men who dug the canal. The book describes how the diseases of Yellow Fever and Malaria were tamed in Panama, and how these diseases were so feared.

The book culminates with the US sitting astride the two Oceans and doing a job many said could not be done. The first boat crossed the full length of the canal on August 3, On that same day, the United States was informed that Germany had declared War on France, thus starting World War I, and the ultimate "beginning of the end" for the old European powers. The book has enormous slow points, including the monotonous descriptions of some mechanical processes that will bore i even the most ardent minutia fan.

The book also spends too much time describing some of the more mundane travels and tribulations of some of the major players, which is not time well spent. Still, PBtS makes you care about all these people and the true engineering marvel they created, how vast the area was, how immovable the obstacles were, and how great their accomplishment was. View all 5 comments. Jan 30, David Eppenstein rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , american-history , history.

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 pages of text and I have to admit that pages could probably have been chopped to This is a tough book to rate.

The book is pages of text and I have to admit that pages could probably have been chopped to make the book more readable. That being said I can't imagine a more thoroughly researched and detailed account of everything that went into building the Panama Canal. The first half of the book is devoted to the French effort that started the Canal in Because the French effort was publicly financed most of the detail concerns all the financial schemes needed to keep this project moving ahead. Then there was the resulting legal actions that followed the French failure. While this was important information to know as the basis for the subsequent American effort I do believe that it was vastly overdone and could have benefited from serious editing.

Following the French disaster you get Roosevelt's involvement and the theft of Panama from Columbia and the politics and schemes involved with that enterprise. The American effort is the heart of the book and probably what most readers are interested in learning. The book is no less detailed but this detail is more about the actual digging of the canal and how the project was approached by the succession of chief engineers. What you get from all of this is that the building of the Panama Canal was a lot more than a lot of digging in the jungle and it was.

It was interesting to read about the successful endeavors of people in something other than a military or political event. Our history is more than bombs and bureaucrats, generals and diplomats. In the history of this canal you have innovative people from a variety of disciplines from medicine to engineering, from management to human resources and it was fascinating to read about their problems and the solutions they devised to solve them.

But I will grant that much of the fascination a reader could have had from this book was diluted by the cumbersome length and depth of detail. I liked the book but it did stop the circulation in my leg more than once. Oct 11, Jessica rated it liked it Shelves: nonfiction , library. My whole life is a lie! I mean, sure, it's still a palindrome, but it's just not true!


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  6. 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 My whole life is a lie! 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 workers and then shrugging and going back to the drawing board when that didn't work.

    The French started it, failed terribly, lost thousands of men and women to malaria and yellow fever, and then went bankrupt. Teddy Roosevelt, in classic Teddy Roosevelt style, went after it but couldn't decide and frankly didn't care where to build or how, he just wanted a canal built, and some of the glory if not all. The whole situation was, frankly, a clustercuss and it's amazing it got built at all.

    It's quite fascinating reading, and I had no idea about any of it. But it's also rather dry reading, and in the middle section McCullough assumes you know all about Latin American politics of the time. There's an endless parade of names, and literally everyone is described as being broad-shouldered and with a mustache, and it was impossible for me to keep track of them. There is a revolution for Panamanian independence which I did not know they didn't have and I could not keep track of who was on which side.

    The US totally meddled of course and I wasn't sure if they were on one side, or both, and which side would be better. It was, to be blunt, a hard slog, reading wise. The last pages though, with actual canal building and descriptions of the living quarters and amenities at the work camps, were more my jam. View all 4 comments. And then it becomes an engaging tale of the epic struggle of man, mind, might, and machine against nature, climate, topography and disease. We know who the eventual winners were. Mar 13, Nick T. Borrelli rated it really liked it.

    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. 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 You wouldn't think that a book detailing the creation of the Panama Canal would be an exciting and quick read. It's not simply a story of the Panama Canal, it is a story of everything that multiple countries and governments went through to bring this grand project to fruition.

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    Amazingly well-written, but I expect no less from Mr. 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 It takes a lot of slogging through statistics to read this book, which is what you expect from David McCollough.

    This was due to the unflagging zeal of Ferdinand de Lesseps, who was instrumental in the building of Suiz canal. The company failed, but did build a railway across the isthmus, which was later a factor in the United States decision to select the same route. What is now panama was a part of Columbia, and uncharted jungle. Medical science did not know what caused the deadly yellow fever. But several dedicated doctors and scientists determined that there are three types of mosquitos, and only one is responsible for the spread of the fever.

    Some in the United States congress and other influential people, namely Theodore Roosevelt, favored a canal route through Nicaragua. See why I wanted more maps! Many people, some not even directly connected with the canal project influenced the Panamanian overthrow of the Columbian government and formed a new government of Panama. The U. The scope of the task is incomprehensible for me. The canal made and broke many who were instrumental in the building--and I mean physically, mentally and emotionally.

    No one knows how many died in either attempt, though in the U. Yellow Fever was somewhat controlled, yet hundreds still died from that, malaria and accidents. What I didn't learn that I want to know is the story behind the U. I'll need to read further on that, but suspicion it has something to do with reparations.

    But if the U. Well if you've read this far, congrats. This is mostly for me to organize my thoughts. But I don't advise this book if you aren't an avid history reader. Nov 01, Colleen Browne rated it it was amazing Shelves: history. Much more on this below. These laws serve to protect people who experience discrimination for one or more protected statuses.

    GENDA is not the answer to our problems. So, if the regulation is not renewed, then attorneys may be less likely to take on trans discrimination cases. Under the regulation, trans people can claim disability discrimination if an employer fails to provide reasonable accommodations for their gender dysphoria.

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    This is a very powerful claim and that can wield good results for trans employees. This means that vast majority of our students who attend public schools, or private religious schools, or private for-profit schools are not protected under the HRL.

    This court decision is still good law, and it will take our state legislature passing a new law to fix the gap and make sure all students in our state are protected under the law. In theory, this should deter a person from attacking a Black person because of their race, a gay person because of their sexuality, or a transgender person for their gender identity, for example. However, many argue that the efficacy of hate crimes legislation is questionable at best, and that they tend to serve as a symbolic gesture than an actual tool for deterring hateful crimes. In this view, hate crimes laws primarily serve to nurture the racist, classist, homophobic and transphobic prison industrial complex by caging more human beings for longer periods of time.

    Historically marginalized communities e. We all deserve and must demand better. What are our most urgent needs now? Do our top priorities reflect the most urgent needs? Why or why not? If we did, how is it any different from what advocates have done to trans rights over the years? Are we just perpetuating the cycle of back-burnering the needs of the most marginalized in our communities to advance the agenda of the most privileged?

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