"Panama Fever" traces a heroic dream that spanned four centuries: to build a canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The human cost was immense: in appalling working conditions and amid epidemics of fever, tens of thousands perished fighting the jungle, swamps and mountains of Panama, a scale of attrition comparable to many great battles. This is a remarkable book about empire and technology. Starting as a story of European Victorian confidence and hubris, it develops, via one of history's greatest engineering disasters, into an account of America's ruthless triumph over vast obstacles as it moves forward to dominate the twentieth century. Matthew Parker explores the fierce geo-political struggle behind the heroic vision of the canal, and the immense engineering and medical battles that were fought. But he also weaves in the stories of the ordinary men and women who worked on the canal, to evoke everyday life on the construction and depict the battle on the ground deep in 'Hell's Gorge'. Using diaries, memoirs, contemporary newspapers and previously unseen private letters, he draws a vivid picture of the heart-breaking struggle on the Isthmus, in particular that of the British West Indians who made up the majority of the canal workforce. "Panama Fever" is a tale of politics, finance, press manipulation, scandal and intrigue, populated by a dazzling cast of idealists and bullies, heroes and conmen. But it is also a moving tribute to the 'Forgotten Silvermen', so many of whom died to fulfil the centuries-old canal dream.
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'If this book isn't a candidate for all the non-fiction prizes
going, I shall be disappointed ... enthralling' -- Daily Telegraph, 3 March 2007
An epic tale of human folly and endeavour, beautifully told and
researched -- John le Carré
`First rate ... [a] book for anyone with an interest in the making of the modern world' -- Sunday Herald
`Matthew Parker, a historian equally at home with geography,
central American politics and Victorian medical advances... does justice to
this political and social drama.' -- Daily Telegraph
`Parker guides readers through the complicated story with a sure
sense of both the larger narrative and the telling detail.' -- Sunday Times
`Parker's epic story, from the 18th century to the present day, is
awesome' -- The Times, 3 March 2007
`Should be required reading for anyone interested in history ... timely and thrillingly told' -- Literary Review, April 2007
`The extraordinary story of western man's compulsion to wrestle with nature in the central American swamps and rainforests' -- Guardian, 14 April 2007
`[an] eye-opening account ... Parker guides readers through the complicated story with a sure sense of both the larger narrative and telling detail' -- Sunday Times, 1 April 2007
`combining a wealth of information with well-written prose ... This book provides a fascinating and rewarding perspective' -- World Business, 17 March 2007
The brilliantly ambitious, epic story of a thirty-year battle against the elements, disease, impossible terrain and massive financial collapse to create one of the most extraordinary engineering feats in world history.
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Book Description Hutchinson, 2007. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0091797047