Intelligent history about building an indispensable part of our infrastructure.

CONQUERING GOTHAM

A GILDED AGE EPIC: THE CONSTRUCTION OF PENN STATION AND ITS TUNNELS

A tale of large-scale engineering during the Gilded Age, when America was on the rise and grand enterprises were the badges of its ascendancy.

Historian Jonnes (Empires of Light, 2003, etc.) evidently had to spend much time burrowing into the slime and muck of Tammany politics before she could get down to digging through the Hudson River silt and mud. The Tammany-dominated Board of Aldermen had the power to kill the Pennsylvania Railroad’s ambitious project to link its mainland rails by subaqueous tunnels to the island of Manhattan. But the PRR’s stalwart president, Alexander Cassatt, who had already done away with free rides and secret rebates, had no intention of paying the customary bribes. Aided by newly elected reform mayor Seth Low, the PRR forced the Board’s approval without boodle on Dec. 16, 1902. Though North River tides caused the tubes to undulate slightly, the difficult construction was finally completed successfully. At the culmination of the 16-mile tunnels, where Manhattan’s seedy Tenderloin District had formerly sprawled, stood Pennsylvania Station, the grandest public space in Gotham. Opened in 1910, Charles McKim’s magnificent Roman-style terminal survived just 53 years, approximating the life expectancy of a citizen born when the PRR’s first train made the cross-river transit. In the tradition of David McCullough’s narratives of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Panama Canal, Jonnes’s elegy to a mighty engineering feat is clearly reported and populated with a well-delineated cast of robber barons, heroic builders and a few crooks sporting handlebar mustaches.

Intelligent history about building an indispensable part of our infrastructure.

Pub Date: April 23, 2007

ISBN: 0-670-03158-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2007

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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