Get Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse PDF

By Eric Jay Dolin

In a piece wealthy in maritime lore and brimming with unique old aspect, Eric Jay Dolin, the best-selling writer of Leviathan, offers an epic historical past of yankee lighthouses, telling the tale of the US during the prism of its cherished coastal sentinels.

Set opposed to the backdrop of an increasing nation, Brilliant Beacons traces the evolution of America's lighthouse procedure from its earliest days, highlighting the political, army, and technological battles fought to light up the nation's hardscrabble coastlines. starting with "Boston Light," America's first lighthouse, Dolin exhibits how the tale of the US, from colony to neighborhood backwater, to fledging state, and finally to worldwide business energy, could be illustrated via its lighthouses.

Even within the colonial period, the query of ways top to unravel the collective challenge of lights our ports, reefs, and coasts via a patchwork of non-public pursuits and self sufficient localities telegraphed the good American debate over federalism and the position of a centralized govt. because the country improved, during the 19th and early 20th centuries, so too did the coastlines wanting illumination, from New England to the Gulf of Mexico, the nice Lakes, the Pacific Coast the entire technique to Alaska. In Dolin's palms we see how each one of those beacons inform its own tale of political squabbling, technological development, engineering wonder, and person derring-do.

In rollicking aspect, Dolin treats readers to a memorable solid of characters, from the penny-pinching Treasury legit Stephen Pleasonton, who hamstrung the country's efforts to undertake the innovative Fresnel lens, to the indomitable Katherine Walker, who presided so heroically over manhattan Harbor as keeper at Robbins Reef Lighthouse that she used to be hailed as a real ny urban folks hero upon her demise in 1931. He additionally animates American army background from the Revolution to the Civil struggle and presents tales either funny and harrowing of infantrymen, saboteurs, Civil struggle battles, ruthless egg creditors, and, most vital, the lighthouse keepers themselves, women and men who usually played unbelievable acts of heroism in wearing out their duties.

In the fashionable international of GPS and satellite-monitored transport lanes, wonderful Beacons types a poignant elegy for the bygone days of the lighthouse, a logo of yankee ingenuity that served as either a caution and an indication of desire for generations of mariners; and it additionally indicates how those sentinels have persisted, preserving their vibrancy to the current day. Containing over one hundred fifty images and illustrations, fantastic Beacons vividly reframes America's history.

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Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse by Eric Jay Dolin

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