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5.0 von 5 Sternen Dramatic, Memorable, Well Written
David McCollough is a heck of a writer -- a fact I already knew from reading his wonderful biography Truman. His skill does justice to an epic story of recent times: the building of the Panama Canal.
This big book is necessary to tell a big tale. The effort to build the Path Between the Seas across the isthmus of Panama lasted from the 1870's through 1914. In a...
Veröffentlicht am 11. Juli 2000 von Wayne A. Smith

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2.0 von 5 Sternen Not enough research done.
I have read most of the book and so far I see there are things lacking in it that sould have been covered. The research did not go back far enough to cover the first ones who did a survey of the route. I have personal Knowlege of one man that spent 5 years doing a survey of the area and when completed he submitted the route to the President of the US and to...
Am 10. Juli 1999 veröffentlicht


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5.0 von 5 Sternen Dramatic, Memorable, Well Written, 11. Juli 2000
David McCollough is a heck of a writer -- a fact I already knew from reading his wonderful biography Truman. His skill does justice to an epic story of recent times: the building of the Panama Canal.
This big book is necessary to tell a big tale. The effort to build the Path Between the Seas across the isthmus of Panama lasted from the 1870's through 1914. In a nutshell, first the French tried and failed to build a sea level crossing at Panama. This was in pursuit of a vision held by many national leaders in order to cut thousands of miles from the journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans. The Americans picked up where the French left off, and after a decade succeeded in creating a crossing using locks and a man-made lake.
What McCollough does so well is flesh out the above nutshell. It is a tale that would not be believed if written as fiction. The level of incompetence, mis and mal feasance, wonderously peculiar personalities, engineering failures and brilliance, vision and size astound the reader and underscore how that age relied more upon enthusiasm, idealism and optimism in the pursuit of grand efforts than does our careful and measured era.
The French followed the builder of the Suez canal into the jungles of Panama. Tens of thousands of French families invested their life savings in the stock of a company that had no plans for the actual canal, very little good data of conditions on the isthmus and no idea of the amount of earth required to be removed or a budget that would pay for the grand adventure. After spending the 1870's and 1880's mired in the jungle, losing tens of thousands (mostly black Carribean workers -- the people who really built the canal) to disease and accident, raising increasingly more expensive capital in desperate gambels to stay afloat, the French effort collapsed. Shame, ignomity and jail awaited some of the project leaders. Their effort will amaze the reader -- that such an ill-conceived (that's too much of a compliment it wasn't even conceived at all beyond "we'll dig it -- viva la France!") undertaking could consume much of the savings of middle class France reminds one of how susceptable people can be to charltons and swindlers.
Into the breach stepped Teddy Roosevelt. This story once again displays the Presidents immense force of personality, drive and integrity. Evidence strongly suggests he made a revolution in Panama to win that then Columbian provence away from a country that could not come to terms with the United States on aquiring the rights to dig the canal. He then ensured, through the use of highly skilled and able administrators, that the organization, logistics, financing and authority existed to make what for years stood as the world's largest construction effort. Great credit for the actual building goes to several engineers and their staff -- many US army engineers. The success also greatly rested on Col. Gorgas and his partially successful efforts to battle disease: yellow feavor, maleria and a host of others that had cost upwards of 200 of every thousand the French employed a generation earlier.
McCollough brings scores of fascinating personalites to light. He tells of the financial and and great political battles that attended all of the stages of the canal effort. The engineering and workings of the canal are simply and clearly laid out. The important efforts to improve sanitation and fight the mosquito borne diseases are succintly explained. All of these elements are rendered interesting and tightly woven in this very good book.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A brilliant history of the Panama Canal, 1. März 2000
"The Path Between the Seas" is narrative history at its best - the story of perhaps the greatest engineering feat of modern times. Writing in the clear and lucid style for which he is noted, historian David McCullough traces the creation of the Panama Canal from its earliest inception by the French in 1870, to its completion 44 years later by the United States.
McCullough skillfully weaves personalities and events together to create a powerful narrative replete with political intrigue, financial scandal, and triumph over tremendous adversity. The author first acquaints the reader with the leaders of the French attempt to build the canal - Ferdinand de Lesseps and his son, Charles, and Phillippe Bunau-Varilla, among others - and tells of the ultimate failure of their venture, and their disgrace due to financial scandal. McCullough then chronicles the ultimately successful American attempt to build the canal. Here is seen the political intrigue (the U.S. backed Panamanian revolution against Colombia, with the complicity of President Theodore Roosevelt, Secretary of State John Hay, and Bunau-Varilla); the successful war against yellow fever and malaria, led by American doctor William Gorgas; and the organizational and engineering genius of two American Chief Engineers - John Stevens and Colonel George Goethals - which led to the completion of the canal in 1914.
"The Path Between the Seas" is more than just the story of how the Panama Canal was built; it is a well researched, historically accurate, and at the same time lively and highly entertaining account of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Highly recommended!
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Not enough research done., 10. Juli 1999
Von Ein Kunde
I have read most of the book and so far I see there are things lacking in it that sould have been covered. The research did not go back far enough to cover the first ones who did a survey of the route. I have personal Knowlege of one man that spent 5 years doing a survey of the area and when completed he submitted the route to the President of the US and to Nepolan adn to some heads of state in Europe for approval. The Canal was out on hold until after the civil ward ue to he lack of funding. After teh war th President wanted to explore it again, there was a team sent to verify the orginal plans. All but some distance was verified and the route was changed so on tunnel would need to be dug as the orginal plans called for. There was documentry made on this man sometime ago. He was also noted in an Isle of Man publication on his exploits as an inventor, engineer, poet and explorer. He is William Kennish, his death came before the canal was started due to the malaria he caught while in panama on his trips. He dediacated the five years to find a path that would conect the to level seas together which he noted on his first trip. Mr Mc Cullough if you read this and want to contact me for varification of this please do at CKennish@aol.com
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5.0 von 5 Sternen The Captivation of a History Buff, 11. September 1998
Von Ein Kunde
I have 3 French Grandsons. They asked me questions about the Suez Canal and that led us to the Panama Canal. A friend of mine lent me his book. I love the sectioning-- French, American and then the Builders. It was easy to track. Concise in explanation for a project so large, and I am not an engineer. I loved the way the author related the "WHY" of the canal decisions.
I marvel at the handling of the mosquito problem. I better appreciate Teddy R. even more today. Yes he had a heavy hand, but he was the midwife of Panama and it was clear that we needed a path for the U.S. defense. The project took 40 years to finish.
The author developed the main characters so well that I can recall what each contributed to colossal effort.
Now I plan to visit Panama with the same grandsons. First I have to replace my friends book, as I made notes all through his copy.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Epic!, 16. Juli 1998
Perhaps I am biased, having grown up in the Panama Canal Zone. All prejudices apart, though, this is the single best "history" book I have ever read. With a cast of characters worthy of a Tolstoy novel, McCullough gives the reader a thorough understanding of the magnitude and impact the little Isthmus of Panama has had on the history of the world.
This is much more than history. Indeed, the common claim that it reads like a novel is not an exaggeration. The 600+ pages overflow with unrelenting drama, vividly painted larger-than-life characters, exotic vistas, bustling courtrooms, etc. This is more a story about the people who struggled to realize a dream than it is about the little canal which captured their imaginations for centuries.
This book moved me to tears.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen History writing at its best, 12. Mai 2000
Von 
Brian D. Rubendall (Oakton, VA) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
(REAL NAME)   
David McCullough makes the epic story of the building of the Panama Canal come to life in a way that few authors could. Throughout the long history of tranportation across the Central American isthmus (first railroad, then canal) McCollough focusses on fascinating characters like the brilliant but enigmatic Frechman Ferdinand de Lesseps, who built the Suez Canal but whose career crashed and burned in Panama. McCullough's skill as a storyteller simply cannot be understated. The book will leave you with a true appreciation of just how Herculean an undertaking the canal was. This book is simply one of the best works of history to appear in the last quarter century.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen a great book that everyone should read, 30. März 1999
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Jack W. Brewer (Simi Valley, CA) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
(REAL NAME)   
This was a great book. It covered the French involvement in great detail. The coruption invovled was frightening. It also detailed very well early attempts of the U.S. in Panama and how the U.S. didn't use the most honest methods in obtaining what they wanted. The weakenss was that it covered the years from 1909 to the opening poorly. I also felt it could have gone into more detail about the lives of the people and less detail on the technical aspects of removing dirt. On the whole, however, this should not keep people from reading the book. There is a great deal of information of which most people are unaware.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A well done story of a great American accomplishment, 28. November 1997
Having lived in Panama, along the Canal, and having read this book both before and while living down there I can say that the author did a splendid job. Most Americans today only vaguely realize that we "dug a canal" in Panama years ago. The full story is fascinating history. McCullough weaves a detailed yet very readable story of political will, international intrigue, national pride, and engineering excellence to show that the creation of the canal was one of the crowning American achievements of the 20th century - the "moon shot" of it's day! Wonderful!
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5.0 von 5 Sternen One of the finest histories written in the 20th Century, 3. Januar 1999
Von 
The scope and the sweep of Path Between the Seas is immense. Yet this is no pedantic list of train cars needed and tons and tons of slipping, sliding earth. McCullough has captured the immensity of the engineering and the health problems that far too many of us take for granted today as we transit the canal in cruise ships or talk about its future. I just saw him on Book CSpan at Claremont College and we are indeed fortunate to have such a gifted historian in our midsts. Get the book and admire the accomplishments of the historian and those whose story he tells..
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Path Between The Seas - A Journey Worth Taking, 30. Mai 2000
The Panama Canal is probably one of the most overlooked achievements of the last century. David McCullough who you may know as the host of the series "The American Experience" tells us of the toils and troubles of the men who built this masterpiece of Engineering. McCullough's style is entertaining and imformative and makes one wish that he would write a book on everything. This book will make you see things in a brand new way. Also check out "Truman" by McCullough as it is equally intriguing and informative.
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