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Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse - download pdf or read online

By Eric Jay Dolin

In a piece wealthy in maritime lore and brimming with unique old element, Eric Jay Dolin, the best-selling writer of Leviathan, provides an epic heritage of yankee lighthouses, telling the tale of the USA 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 indicates how the tale of the USA, from colony to nearby backwater, to fledging country, and finally to worldwide business energy, should be illustrated via its lighthouses.

Even within the colonial period, the query of ways most sensible to unravel the collective challenge of lights our ports, reefs, and coasts via a patchwork of personal pursuits and self reliant localities telegraphed the good American debate over federalism and the position of a centralized govt. because the country extended, through the 19th and early 20th centuries, so too did the coastlines short of illumination, from New England to the Gulf of Mexico, the nice Lakes, the Pacific Coast all of the strategy to Alaska. In Dolin's fingers we see how each one of those beacons inform its own tale of political squabbling, technological development, engineering surprise, and person derring-do.

In rollicking element, Dolin treats readers to a memorable forged 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 ny Harbor as keeper at Robbins Reef Lighthouse that she used to be hailed as a real manhattan urban folks hero upon her loss of life in 1931. He additionally animates American army historical past 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 frequently played spectacular acts of heroism in wearing out their duties.

In the fashionable global of GPS and satellite-monitored delivery lanes, very good Beacons types a poignant elegy for the bygone days of the lighthouse, a logo of yank 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, maintaining their vibrancy to the current day. Containing over one hundred fifty photos and illustrations, impressive 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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