ike a dramatic pageant unfolding, the singular history of the Isthmus of Panama from the early sixteenth century to the present swiftly passes before the reader. For centuries, men dreamed about a canal which would join the Atlantic and Pacific. But, not until de Lesseps, a practical ""dreamer,"" gave the colossal idea his attention in 1880, did the Great Ditch begin to inch its way across the festering strip of land. With a telescopic lens technique, the author narrates the harrowing experiences of the men who hacked out the jungle, who surveyed for the dam, and who watched helplessly as thousands of their comrades fell victims to the dreaded yellow fever. Mr. Rink has an extraordinary command of a vast amount of material which has resulted in a book that young historians should find to be excellent, rewarding reading.