By Julie Greene

ISBN-10: 159420201X

ISBN-13: 9781594202018

A groundbreaking background of the Panama Canal deals a revelatory workers-eye view of the momentous project and exhibits the way it introduced the yankee century The Panama Canal has lengthy been celebrated as a triumph of yankee engineering and know-how. within the Canal developers, Julie Greene unearths that this emphasis obscures a much more notable part of the canal’s construction—the tens of millions of workingmen and -women who traveled from all over the world to construct it. Drawing on learn from world wide, Greene explores the human dimensions of the Panama Canal tale, revealing the way it remodeled perceptions of yank empire on the sunrise of the 20th century. For a undertaking that might safe America’s place as a number one participant at the global degree, the Panama Canal had arguable beginnings. while President Theodore Roosevelt seized rights to a stretch of Panama quickly after the rustic won its independence, many americans observed it as an act of scandalous land-grabbing. but Roosevelt believed the canal might profoundly develop American army and advertisement strength whereas showing to be a benevolent undertaking for the good thing about the realm. yet first it needed to be outfitted. From 1904 to 1914, in a single of the best hard work mobilizations ever, operating humans traveled to Panama from everywhere in the globe—from farms and commercial cities within the usa, sugarcane plantations within the West Indies, and rocky fields in Spain and Italy. once they arrived, they confronted harsh and inequitable stipulations: hard work unions have been forbidden, staff have been paid in a different way according to their race and nationality—with the main risky jobs falling to West Indians—and someone now not contributing to the venture should be deported. but Greene unearths how canal staff and their households controlled to withstand govt calls for for potency in any respect expenditures, forcing many officers to revise their guidelines. The Canal developers recounts how the Panama Canal emerged as a good image of yankee energy and have become a serious early step in the direction of twentieth-century globalization. but by way of chronicling the contributions of canal employees from worldwide, Julie Greene additionally reminds us of the human dimensions of a undertaking as a rule remembered for its engineering triumphs.

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When the United States went to war against Spain in 1898 and won a victory within a few months, suddenly acquiring formal and informal colonies stretching from Cuba and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean to Guam, Hawaii, and the Philippines in the Pacific, it seemed to have embarked on a new and more promising role as a world power. The defeat of Spain caused much pride and celebration across the United States. Yet the war’s aftermath generated unforeseen conflicts. Exercising power in the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Hawaii proved daunting.

Roosevelt grew up in a wealthy New York family, a young man who adored his father but who was aware of the great disappointment of his father’s life—that he had not fought in the Civil War. Roosevelt’s struggle against physical frailty, especially asthma, and his campaign to transform himself into a robust and physically active young man have been noted by many historians. 6 As a college student, young Theodore had already demonstrated an intense interest in sea power and the fate of the nation.

15 So this is a book about empire, and yet, following the canal’s own strange career, it is also about a project that does not fit easily into our notions of imperialism. It is about the ways diverse visions, expectations, hopes, dreams, and realities clashed against one another. It is about how a scandalous moment in the history of the United States became transformed into one widely seen as profound, idealistic, and triumphant. It is about how the world became larger and smaller at the same time.

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The Canal Builders: Making America's Empire at the Panama Canal (Penguin History of American Life) by Julie Greene


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