Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse

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9780871406682: Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse

In a work rich in maritime lore and brimming with original historical detail, Eric Jay Dolin, the best-selling author of Leviathan, presents an epic history of American lighthouses, telling the story of America through the prism of its beloved coastal sentinels.

Set against the backdrop of an expanding nation, Brilliant Beacons traces the evolution of America's lighthouse system from its earliest days, highlighting the political, military, and technological battles fought to illuminate the nation's hardscrabble coastlines. Beginning with "Boston Light," America's first lighthouse, Dolin shows how the story of America, from colony to regional backwater, to fledging nation, and eventually to global industrial power, can be illustrated through its lighthouses.
Even in the colonial era, the question of how best to solve the collective problem of lighting our ports, reefs, and coasts through a patchwork of private interests and independent localities telegraphed the great American debate over federalism and the role of a centralized government. As the nation expanded, throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, so too did the coastlines in need of illumination, from New England to the Gulf of Mexico, the Great Lakes, the Pacific Coast all the way to Alaska. In Dolin's hands we see how each of these beacons tell its own story of political squabbling, technological advancement, engineering marvel, and individual derring-do.
In rollicking detail, Dolin treats readers to a memorable cast of characters, from the penny-pinching Treasury official Stephen Pleasonton, who hamstrung the country's efforts to adopt the revolutionary Fresnel lens, to the indomitable Katherine Walker, who presided so heroically over New York Harbor as keeper at Robbins Reef Lighthouse that she was hailed as a genuine New York City folk hero upon her death in 1931. He also animates American military history from the Revolution to the Civil War and presents tales both humorous and harrowing of soldiers, saboteurs, Civil War battles, ruthless egg collectors, and, most important, the lighthouse keepers themselves, men and women who often performed astonishing acts of heroism in carrying out their duties.
In the modern world of GPS and satellite-monitored shipping lanes, Brilliant Beacons forms a poignant elegy for the bygone days of the lighthouse, a symbol of American ingenuity that served as both a warning and a sign of hope for generations of mariners; and it also shows how these sentinels have endured, retaining their vibrancy to the present day. Containing over 150 photographs and illustrations, and 8 pages in color, Brilliant Beacons vividly reframes America's history.

Les informations fournies dans la section « Synopsis » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

About the Author :

Eric Jay Dolin is the best-selling author of the award-winning Fur, Fortune, and Empire; Leviathan, which was chosen by the Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe as a best book of the year; and When America First Met China. He and his family live in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Review :

"What Moby-Dick is to whales, Brilliant Beacons is to lighthouses--a transformative account of a familiar yet mystical subject. Eric Jay Dolin has devised a surprising and ingenious approach to our shared pastand present. Having spent a lot of time by the sea over the years, I was enthralled by this book."  (Laurence Bergreen, author of Columbus: The Four Voyages)
"Eric Jay Dolin--whose superb books Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America and When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money int he Age of Sail are required reading for those interested in maritime history--has turned his gaze landward in his latest effort, Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse. Dolin guides us through the history of theAmerican lighthouse, from the bureaucracy that built and managed them, to the men who tended them, through the wars that doused them, the science and engineering that lit them, and the storms that pummeled them. This magnificent compendium is a paean to the buildings that guided safe passage for the economic prosperity of a young nation with huge, dangerous coastlines. . . . Dolin is a brilliant researcher and seasoned writer, allowing this mostly chronological sweep moments to pause and eddy into all the stories bound to emerge from heroic engineering, isolation, and fortitude. . . . Part of the fun of Beacons is reading American history through this specifically coastal lens." (Ben Shattuck, The New Republic)                                                                                                            "[Brilliant Beacons is] terrific. Dolin uses the history of American lighthouses to illuminate the history of America itself: As Colonies and uncharted territories became U.S. land, more coastline needed lighting." Entertainment Weekly                                                                                              "While changing lighthouse technology and bureaucratic stalemates are addressed in 'Brilliant Beacons: A History of American Lighthouses,' the book also weighs in vividly on lighthouse keepers' lives and heroism. Wars are part of the picture. So are storms, including the deadly New England hurricane of 1938. The West Coast figures prominently, too, with terrific details on the building of lighthouses on Oregon's Tillamook Rock, San Francisco's Farallon Islands and Washington state's Cape Disappointment. The whole smartly researched package is delivered with wry wit and clarity. . . . [Dolin] has a fine eye for telling anecdotes, and his chapters on the conditions lighthouse keepers dealt with are the juiciest. Tsunamis, ice floes, wild geese attacks and military hostilities were among the most dramatic challenges they faced. Boredom and isolation posed more insidious threats. . . . While Dolin never loses focus on his central subject matter, he delivers a fascinating incidental history of the U.S. while he's at it. War and peace, economic boom and bust, technocratic muddles and political power-plays all come under his scrutiny, with illuminating, Fresnel-worthy results." Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times                       

"While there have been a score of books on Maine lighthouses in the past few decades, this is by far the best national coverage since Francis Ross Holland's "American Lighthouses: An Illustrated History," from 1972. Dolin, whose earlier books include "Leviathan" (2007) and "When America First Met China" (2012), is a sure-handed researcher and a most enjoyable author. Though "Brilliant Beacons" updates and illuminates Ross Holland, don't ignore the latter. They are deserving of the same shelf." William David Barry, Portland Press Herald

"Hailing lighthouses as 'national treasures' that 'literally lit the way' for U.S. economic growth and maritime safety, independent historian Dolin (When America First Met China) establishes lighthouses and their keepers to be admirable and worth studying. . . . VERDICT Dolin delivers the most thorough and absorbing study of American lighthouses in over 40 years, since Francis Ross Holland Jr.'s America's Lighthouses, filling an essential niche for historians and lighthouse enthusiasts." (Michael Rodriguez, Library Journal)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           "His material and handling overall are first-rate. It's a splendid history. . . . Dolin's book, which includes reference material on lighthouse organizations and museums, would be a good companion on any lighthouse excursion. (Tim Bross, St.Louis Post-Dispatch)                                "A marvelously interesting and entertaining narrative...A skillful dramatist of such events, Dolin is as good a portraitist of characters who built and kept lighthouses...Dolin moves forward to chronicle the construction of numerous impressive towers in wildly windswept, picturesque settings. These classic lighthouses, featured in the book's many illustrations, and the keepers' tales attached to them exert an ineffably romantic attraction richly conveyed in Dolin's admirable presentation." (Booklist (starred review))

"Historian and maritime expert Dolin . . . sheds light on the proverbial 'beacon in the night' in this meticulous look at American Lighthouses . . . In tracking social, political, cultural, and technological threads, he creates a fascinating picture of American life and its relationship with the sea over the centuries. . . . [an] engaging . . . rewarding read, and anyone studying lighthouses will find this an indispensable resource." (Publishers Weekly)

"The author of other masterly works on key aspects of American history and growth (Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America, 2010, etc.), Dolin here presents a thoughtful, straightforward chronicle of the American lighthouse, from the earliest, completed in 1716 at Little Brewster, in Boston Harbor, as a harbinger of burgeoning Colonial maritime growth, to the death of the last civilian keeper―at the Coney Island Lighthouse―in 2003...A delightful journey with excellent sketches, renderings, and resources for museums and organizations." (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))                                                                         "While library shelves are weighted down with books on America's lighthouses, this new book by Eric Jay Dolin is a must-read for anyone interested in lighthouses orAmerica's maritime history. . . . This history of American lighthouses is both engaging and enjoyable, whether for academics, who will not be disappointed in the thoroughness of the author's research, or for lighthouse history buffs who will enjoy its compelling narrative. It is highly recommended for both." (C. Douglas Kroll, Sea History Magazine)                                                                                                                                                                                                     "Eric Jay Dolin tells the rich, colorful, and fascinating tale of these towers of light in his Brilliant Beacons. Dolin, acclaimed author of Leviathan, Fur, Fortune, and Empire, and When America First Met China, gives a wealth of information about the people who were involved in these beacons of safety: engineers,politicians, sea captains, and keepers . . . Not only well written, Brilliant Beacons also generously provides illustrations of lighthouses that throughout the ages have played such an important role in the development of the United States." (Göran R Buckhorn, Mystic Seaport Magazine)

                                                                    

"Impressively researched and masterfully crafted, Brilliant Beacons reveals the high stakes and harrowing dangers of American lighthouses as no book before...immensely informative and enjoyable to read." (Theresa Levitt, author of A Short, Bright Flash:Augustin Fresnel and the Birth of the Modern Lighthouse)

“A marvelously interesting and entertaining narrative...A skillful dramatist of such events, Dolin is as good a portraitist of characters who built and kept lighthouses...Dolin moves forward to chronicle the construction of numerous impressive towers in wildly windswept, picturesque settings. These classic lighthouses, featured in the book’s many illustrations, and the keepers’ tales attached to them exert an ineffably romantic attraction richly conveyed in Dolin’s admirable presentation.”
- Booklist (starred review)

“The author of other masterly works on key aspects of American history and growth (Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America, 2010, etc.), Dolin here presents a thoughtful, straightforward chronicle of the American lighthouse, from the earliest, completed in 1716 at Little Brewster, in Boston Harbor, as a harbinger of burgeoning Colonial maritime growth, to the death of the last civilian keeper―at the Coney Island Lighthouse―in 2003...A delightful journey with excellent sketches, renderings, and resources for museums and organizations.”
- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Here we have a full-bodied and fabulous history of one of America's most scenic and formative icons, the coastal beacons that defined a young nation’s economic drive and determination to own the seas. Readers familiar with the irresistible narratives Dolin delivered in Leviathan or Fur, Fortune, and Empire can be confident that he has now done the same for the riveting history of America's lighthouses.”
- Rinker Buck, author of Flight of Passage and The Oregon Trail

“Eric Jay Dolin has crafted a master work of research and storytelling. Brilliant Beacons is a fascinating ride through the rich history of lighthouses as strategic prizes in war, sources of technological innovation, and inspiration for architectural ingenuity that combines grace and strength. This is a book for anyone who has gazed with awe upon the sea.”
- Brian Murphy, author of 81 Days Below Zero

“Eric Jay Dolin looks beyond the postcard romance of lighthouses to reveal a vibrant and vital history. From shipwrecks and wartime raids to poetry, bird migration, and the physics of refraction, Brilliant Beacons is a fascinating, page-turning, and, yes, illuminating read.”
- Thor Hanson, author of The Triumph of Seeds and Feathers

Brilliant Beacons is the best history of American lighthouses ever written.”
- Jeremy D’Entremont, historian at the American Lighthouse Foundation, and author of numerous lighthouse books

“What better place to watch the United States taking shape than from its lighthouses? And what better author to take us to them than Eric Jay Dolin? With his usual narrative flair and wonderfully entertaining writing style, Dolin sheds all sorts of new light on American history.”
- Toby Lester, author of The Fourth Part of the World and Da Vinci’s Ghost

“This meticulously researched and fascinating book isn’t just for maritime history buffs but for all of us who appreciate little-known tales of days gone by.”
- Michael Tougias, author of A Storm Too Soon and coauthor of The Finest Hours

“No other book on the topic is as detailed and well written. Brilliant Beacons should be required reading for anyone interested in American history.”
- Tim Harrison, founder and editor of Lighthouse Digest

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Description du livre Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company 2016-05-12, New York |London, 2016. hardback. État : New. N° de réf. du libraire 9780871406682

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Description du livre WW Norton Co, United States, 2016. Hardback. État : New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Set against the backdrop of an expanding nation, Brilliant Beacons traces the evolution of America s lighthouse system from its earliest days, highlighting the political, military, and technological battles fought to illuminate the nation s hardscrabble coastlines. Beginning with Boston Light, America s first lighthouse, Dolin shows how the story of America, from colony to regional backwater, to fledging nation, and eventually to global industrial power, can be illustrated through its lighthouses. Even in the colonial era, the question of how best to solve the collective problem of lighting our ports, reefs, and coasts through a patchwork of private interests and independent localities telegraphed the great American debate over federalism and the role of a centralized government. As the nation expanded, throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, so too did the coastlines in need of illumination, from New England to the Gulf of Mexico, the Great Lakes, the Pacific Coast all the way to Alaska. In Dolin s hands we see how each of these beacons tell its own story of political squabbling, technological advancement, engineering marvel, and individual derring-do. In rollicking detail, Dolin treats readers to a memorable cast of characters, from the penny-pinching Treasury official Stephen Pleasonton, who hamstrung the country s efforts to adopt the revolutionary Fresnel lens, to the indomitable Katherine Walker, who presided so heroically over New York Harbor as keeper at Robbins Reef Lighthouse that she was hailed as a genuine New York City folk hero upon her death in 1931. He also animates American military history from the Revolution to the Civil War and presents tales both humorous and harrowing of soldiers, saboteurs, Civil War battles, ruthless egg collectors, and, most important, the lighthouse keepers themselves, men and women who often performed astonishing acts of heroism in carrying out their duties. In the modern world of GPS and satellite-monitored shipping lanes, Brilliant Beacons forms a poignant elegy for the bygone days of the lighthouse, a symbol of American ingenuity that served as both a warning and a sign of hope for generations of mariners; and it also shows how these sentinels have endured, retaining their vibrancy to the present day. Containing over 150 photographs and illustrations, Brilliant Beacons vividly reframes America s history. N° de réf. du libraire AAS9780871406682

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Eric Jay Dolin
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Description du livre WW Norton Co, United States, 2016. Hardback. État : New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Set against the backdrop of an expanding nation, Brilliant Beacons traces the evolution of America s lighthouse system from its earliest days, highlighting the political, military, and technological battles fought to illuminate the nation s hardscrabble coastlines. Beginning with Boston Light, America s first lighthouse, Dolin shows how the story of America, from colony to regional backwater, to fledging nation, and eventually to global industrial power, can be illustrated through its lighthouses. Even in the colonial era, the question of how best to solve the collective problem of lighting our ports, reefs, and coasts through a patchwork of private interests and independent localities telegraphed the great American debate over federalism and the role of a centralized government. As the nation expanded, throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, so too did the coastlines in need of illumination, from New England to the Gulf of Mexico, the Great Lakes, the Pacific Coast all the way to Alaska. In Dolin s hands we see how each of these beacons tell its own story of political squabbling, technological advancement, engineering marvel, and individual derring-do. In rollicking detail, Dolin treats readers to a memorable cast of characters, from the penny-pinching Treasury official Stephen Pleasonton, who hamstrung the country s efforts to adopt the revolutionary Fresnel lens, to the indomitable Katherine Walker, who presided so heroically over New York Harbor as keeper at Robbins Reef Lighthouse that she was hailed as a genuine New York City folk hero upon her death in 1931. He also animates American military history from the Revolution to the Civil War and presents tales both humorous and harrowing of soldiers, saboteurs, Civil War battles, ruthless egg collectors, and, most important, the lighthouse keepers themselves, men and women who often performed astonishing acts of heroism in carrying out their duties. In the modern world of GPS and satellite-monitored shipping lanes, Brilliant Beacons forms a poignant elegy for the bygone days of the lighthouse, a symbol of American ingenuity that served as both a warning and a sign of hope for generations of mariners; and it also shows how these sentinels have endured, retaining their vibrancy to the present day. Containing over 150 photographs and illustrations, Brilliant Beacons vividly reframes America s history. N° de réf. du libraire AAS9780871406682

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Description du livre WW Norton & Co. Hardback. État : new. BRAND NEW, Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse, Eric Jay Dolin, In a work rich in maritime lore and brimming with original historical detail, Eric Jay Dolin, the best-selling author of Leviathan, presents the most comprehensive history of American lighthouses ever written, telling the story of America through the prism of its beloved coastal sentinels. Set against the backdrop of an expanding nation, Brilliant Beacons traces the evolution of America's lighthouse system, highlighting the political, military, and technological battles fought to illuminate the nation's hardscrabble coastlines. In rollicking detail, Dolin treats readers to a memorable cast of characters including the penny-pinching Treasury official Stephen Pleasonton, who hamstrung the country's efforts to adopt the revolutionary "Fresnel Lens," and presents tales both humorous and harrowing of soldiers, saboteurs, ruthless egg collectors, and most importantly, the light-keepers themselves. Richly supplemented with over 100 photographs and illustrations throughout, Brilliant Beacons is the most original history of American lighthouses in many decades. N° de réf. du libraire B9780871406682

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