BEARER OF A MILLION DREAMS: The Complete Story of the Statue of Liberty by Frank Spiering

BEARER OF A MILLION DREAMS: The Complete Story of the Statue of Liberty

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is timed to coincide with the national spotlight on the newly renovated Statue of Liberty, both during this year's July Fourth celebrations and in October, with the celebration of the centenary of the Statue's unveiling. Spiering (Lizzie, Prince Jack) brings the process of the creation of Liberty Enlightening the World alive with a fast-paced style. Oftimes, excursions into previous centuries and alien cultures read stale, but Spiering's approach is like taking a wild ride in a time machine. There we are, alongside sculptor Auguste Bartholdi as he alternates between France and America, trying to raise funds for his pet project--a gift from the people of France to America. Though timed to coincide with America's centennial in 1876, we suffer with Bartholdi as he finds the Americans apathetic in raising funds for a pedestal to hold France's gift. We marvel at the engineering wizardry of Gustave Eiffel, who poohpoohs the idea of pouring sand inside the statue to secure it against winds and tides. Instead, Eiffel constructs a webbing of steel triangles to support the statue, a process with which he would later imbue the functional artistry of his Tour d'Eiffel. We agonize, too, at the mean-spiritedness of The New York Times and other newspapers here which ridiculed the project from the beginning. But we see the spirit of man as personified by publisher Joseph Pulitzer, who saved the project from failure by mobilizing a nickels-and-dimes people campaign to raise the final hundred thousand dollars to fund the pedestal, constructed by Richard Morris Hunt. A tale of purpose and persistence, meticulously rendered.

Pub Date: July 4th, 1986
Publisher: Jameson--dist. by Kampmann (9 East 40th St., New York, NY 10016)