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Dreams of Iron and Steel: Seven Wonders of the Nineteenth Century, from the Building of the London Sewers to the Panama Canal.


This story of seven great engineering feats is massive in every way. The structures are huge; the scope is wide; the number of people it took to build each structure is astounding. Cadbury details how each project was conceived, designed, financed, and built: the London sewers, the Panama Canal, the Hoover Dam, the colossal ship called the Great Eastern, the Brooklyn Bridge, the transcontinental railroad, and the Bell Rock Lighthouse. She explains how the time was right for such undertakings, as the population was moving off farms and into an industrial world. These people were willing to do dangerous work for a meager wage, and many children were included in the workforce. Laborers as young as 9 years old built the Great Eastern on the banks of the Thames in the mid-1800s. In fact, the children's size was a benefit in the confined space between the unique double hulls of the ship. On the other hand, Cadbury examines the inspiring achievements represented by the projects. The London sewers banished cholera, the Panama Canal shortened a brutal sea passage, and the Hoover Dam brought power to a vast portion of the United States. This book is a companion to a series called Industrial Wonders, which will appear on The Learning Channel. Originally published in Great Britain in 2003 under the title Seven Wonders of the Industrial World. Fourth Estate. 2004. 300 p., b&w plates, hardcover, $25.95.
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Publication:Science News
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Feb 7, 2004
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