Brilliant Beacons A History of the American Lighthouse

Author: Eric Jay Dolin
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 1631491539
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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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, Brilliant Beacons vividly reframes America's history.

A Short Bright Flash Augustin Fresnel and the Birth of the Modern Lighthouse

Author: Theresa Levitt
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393733947
Format: PDF, Kindle
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“Combin[es] matters of biography, science, engineering, technology, art, history, economics and politics seemingly effortlessly and definitely seamlessly. An excellent book and a joy to read.”—Henry Petroski, Wall Street Journal Augustin Fresnel (1788–1827) shocked the scientific elite with his unique understanding of the physics of light. The lens he invented was a brilliant feat of engineering that made lighthouses blaze many times brighter, farther, and more efficiently. Battling the establishment, his own poor health, and the limited technology of the time, Fresnel was able to achieve his goal of illuminating the entire French coast. At first, the British sought to outdo the new Fresnel-equipped lighthouses as a matter of national pride. Americans, too, resisted abandoning their primitive lamps, but the superiority of the Fresnel lens could not be denied for long. Soon, from Dunkirk to Saigon, shores were brightened with it. The Fresnel legacy played an important role in geopolitical events, including the American Civil War. No sooner were Fresnel lenses finally installed along U.S. shores than they were drafted: the Union blockaded the Confederate coast; the Confederacy set about thwarting it by dismantling and hiding or destroying the powerful new lights. Levitt’s scientific and historical account, rich in anecdote and personality, brings to life the fascinating untold story of Augustin Fresnel and his powerful invention.

Leviathan

Author: Eric Jay Dolin
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393060577
Format: PDF, Mobi
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A social and economic history of whaling in America traces Captain John Smith's ill-fated expedition to the New World in 1614, through the industry's rise to its nineteenth-century golden years, to its decline in the twentieth century.

Lighthouses of North America

Author: Sylke Jackson
Publisher: Firefly Books Limited
ISBN: 9781770852495
Format: PDF, Docs
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A tour of more than 70 of the continent's most beautiful and important lighthouses. Lighthouses of North America is a beautiful tribute to 71 lighthouses in the United States and Canada. The selection covers the full range of lighthouse architectural styles and represents all regions of the continent. The book opens with a brief but fascinating history of lighthouses, which traces their use from the Romans to the "golden age" of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when lighthouses became a strategic and commercial asset to seafarers. Readers will discover the fascinating details that give lighthouses their spirit, such as Portland Head Lighthouse, the favorite haunt of poet Henry Wadsworth, providing inspiration for his poem "The Lighthouse"; how early rocket launches damaged the original Cape Canaveral Lighthouse; that a friendly ghost named Rue is said to wander the grounds of Oregon's Heceta Head Lighthouse; and how the Race Rocks Lighthouse in British Columbia guided vessels into port during the Fraser gold rush. Chapters focus on construction method and present each sentinel over a two- to six-page spread with a narrative description: Conical & Cylindrical Construction, such as the Fire Island Light off Long Island and the Three Sisters of Nauset in Massachusetts Square Construction, such as the Holland Harbor Light in Michigan and the Presque Isle Light on Lake Erie Hexagonal and Octagonal Construction, such as the Alcatraz Island Light in San Francisco Bay and the famous Peggy's Point Light in Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia Skeletal Construction, such as the Sanibel Island Light on Florida's Gulf Coast and the Rawley Point Light in Wisconsin. Striking color photographs show the lighthouse exteriors and interiors, and a facts box details location, tower height, focal plan, daymark, light characteristics, year established and current use. Thoughtful essays describe the architecture of the essential spiral staircase, lost lighthouses, how the lights work, the light-keepers, haunted lighthouses, the future of lighthouses and the most recognized and unusual of lighthouses, the Statue of Liberty. For the traveler, there is a list of North American Lights and useful resources. Lighthouse aficionados are many in number and all will enjoy this stunning book.

Fur Fortune and Empire The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America

Author: Eric Jay Dolin
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393079244
Format: PDF, Docs
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A Seattle Times selection for one of Best Non-Fiction Books of 2010 Winner of the New England Historial Association's 2010 James P. Hanlan Award Winner of the Outdoor Writers Association of America 2011 Excellence in Craft Award, Book Division, First Place "A compelling and well-annotated tale of greed, slaughter and geopolitics." —Los Angeles Times As Henry Hudson sailed up the broad river that would one day bear his name, he grew concerned that his Dutch patrons would be disappointed in his failure to find the fabled route to the Orient. What became immediately apparent, however, from the Indians clad in deer skins and "good furs" was that Hudson had discovered something just as tantalizing. The news of Hudson's 1609 voyage to America ignited a fierce competition to lay claim to this uncharted continent, teeming with untapped natural resources. The result was the creation of an American fur trade, which fostered economic rivalries and fueled wars among the European powers, and later between the United States and Great Britain, as North America became a battleground for colonization and imperial aspirations. In Fur, Fortune, and Empire, best-selling author Eric Jay Dolin chronicles the rise and fall of the fur trade of old, when the rallying cry was "get the furs while they last." Beavers, sea otters, and buffalos were slaughtered, used for their precious pelts that were tailored into extravagant hats, coats, and sleigh blankets. To read Fur, Fortune, and Empire then is to understand how North America was explored, exploited, and settled, while its native Indians were alternately enriched and exploited by the trade. As Dolin demonstrates, fur, both an economic elixir and an agent of destruction, became inextricably linked to many key events in American history, including the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and the War of 1812, as well as to the relentless pull of Manifest Destiny and the opening of the West. This work provides an international cast beyond the scope of any Hollywood epic, including Thomas Morton, the rabble-rouser who infuriated the Pilgrims by trading guns with the Indians; British explorer Captain James Cook, whose discovery in the Pacific Northwest helped launch America's China trade; Thomas Jefferson who dreamed of expanding the fur trade beyond the Mississippi; America's first multimillionaire John Jacob Astor, who built a fortune on a foundation of fur; and intrepid mountain men such as Kit Carson and Jedediah Smith, who sliced their way through an awe inspiring and unforgiving landscape, leaving behind a mythic legacy still resonates today. Concluding with the virtual extinction of the buffalo in the late 1800s, Fur, Fortune, and Empire is an epic history that brings to vivid life three hundred years of the American experience, conclusively demonstrating that the fur trade played a seminal role in creating the nation we are today.

Beacons of Light

Author: Gail Gibbons
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780688073794
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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A survey of lighthouses and how they work in simple text and pictures.

The Ultimate Book of Lighthouses

Author: Samuel Willard Crompton
Publisher:
ISBN: 9781592231027
Format: PDF, ePub
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The sheer beauty of the elegant, lonely lighthouses along our shores — and their unspoiled, scenic natural settings — has captivated our collective imagination. More than simply picturesque, the lighthouse has become an enduring symbol of salvation, fortitude, and heroic folklore. The Ultimate Lighthouse Book is a panoramic, lavishly illustrated history of these legendary buildings and celebrates the rich heritage of our ancestors’ courageous efforts to guide mariners through treacherous seas and storms. Over 200 color photographs are featured in this fully revised, expanded and updated edition.

Guardians of the Lights

Author: Elinor De Wire
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
ISBN: 9781561640775
Format: PDF, Mobi
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-- Stories of the heroism and fortitude of the men and women of the U.S. Lighthouse Service, who kept vital shipping lanes safe from 1716 until early in the 20th century -- Vivid tales about the daily work; coping with fog, storms, and other catastrophes; legends and ghosts; women's and families' roles; lighthouse children and pets; the natural world around lighthouses; and the diverse characters of those who held the job -- Fans of Elinor De Wire's charming style will want this book

The Taming of Free Speech

Author: Laura Weinrib
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674974689
Format: PDF, ePub
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Laura Weinrib shows how a coalition of lawyers and activists made judicial enforcement of the Bill of Rights a defining feature of American democracy. Protection of civil liberties was a calculated bargain between liberals and conservatives to save the courts from New Deal attack and secure free speech for both labor radicals and businesses.