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Hoover Dam and the Making of the American Century

As breathtaking today as when it was completed, Hoover Dam ranks among America’s most awe-inspiring, if dubious, achievements. This epic story of the dam—from conception to design to construction—by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik exposes the tremendous hardships and accomplishments of the men on the ground—and in the air—who built the dam and the demonic drive of Frank Crowe, the boss who pushed them beyond endurance. It is a tale of the tremendous will exerted from start to finish, detailing the canny backroom dealings by Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt, the herculean engineering challenges Crowe faced, and the terrific union strikes by the men who daily fought to beat back the Colorado River. Colossus tells an important part of the story of America’s struggle to pull itself out of the Great Depression by harnessing the power of its population and its natural resources.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 512 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416532170 | 
  • May 2011
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See how the Hoover Dam influenced the western U.S. in COLOSSUS

The definitive account of the epic construction of the Hoover Dam, one of the the twentieth century's most consequential public works.

Read an Excerpt

The Journey of Death

By any customary measure, the Colorado River is an unremarkable stream. It does not rank as the longest river in North America, nor the widest, nor the most abundant. Its drainage basin of a quarter-million square miles barely falls within the ten largest in the United States, and much of it covers inaccessible range or desolate wasteland. Unlike the Mississippi, Hudson, and St. Lawrence, to name three great riparian thoroughfares of the continent, the Colorado has never been a significant bearer of commercial traffic.

Throughout history, what has set the Colorado River apart from all other waterways of... see more

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Posted by Off the Shelf Staff

We humansengineersome incrediblestuff! From improving how we move peopleand productsfrom here to there, to harnessing our waters and winds, to space travel and some awfully devastating weapons,these nine books demonstrateour determination to...

About the Author

Michael Hiltzik
Photograph by Deborah Ibert

Michael Hiltzik

Michael Hiltzik is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author who has covered business, technology, and public policy for the Los Angeles Times for twenty years. In that time he has served as a financial and political writer, an investigative reporter, and as a foreign correspondent in Africa and Russia. He currently serves as the Times business columnist. His other books include The Plot Against Social Security (2005), Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age (1999), and A Death in Kenya (1995). Mr. Hiltzik received the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for articles exposing corruption in the entertainment industry. Among his other awards for excellence in reporting are the 2004 Gerald Loeb Award for outstanding business commentary and the Silver Gavel from the American Bar Association for outstanding legal reporting. A graduate of Colgate University, Mr. Hiltzik received a master of science degree in journalism from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in 1974. He lives in Southern California with his wife and two children.




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