Hell's Gorge: The Battle to Build the Panama Canal (Paperback)Matthew Parker (author)
2014 is the 100-year-anniversary of the panama canal: one of the most extraordinary engineering feats in world history.
Hell's Gorge 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.
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.
Hell's Gorge 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.
Number of pages: 464
Weight: 331 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 29 mm
An epic tale of human folly and endeavour, beautifully told and researched - John le Carré
Matthew Parker has picked a fascinating subject and written a book worthy of it ... It is peopled with a host of characters, some heroic, others corrupt, almost all out of the ordinary. There isn't a dull page - Allan Massie, Daily Telegraph
Parker's epic story, from the 18th century to the present day, is awesome - The Times
Parker has written the Panama story for a new generation. He quotes extensively from letters and diaries of ordinary workers writing home to their families. And it is their heartfelt views on the conditions in which they lived and worked that really bring this book to life - The Economist
Parker's great forte in Panama Fever is to bring this complex story to life through a succession of vivid characters - Sunday Telegraph
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