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"Colossus" is Michael Hiltzik's contribution to the public works literature including - for example - David McCullough's "The Great Bridge" and "The Path Between the Seas" along with "Golden Gate" by Kevin Star. In this volume Hiltzik details the history of the taming of the Colorado River during the Western Expansion to the building of the Hoover Dam. The political horse trading, engineering, labor problems, and more other surprises than can be listed here are presented. The book offers an amazing window onto the sacrifices made by those who physically built the dam with their sweat, muscle, and sometimes their lives. Desperate men in desperate economic times. This book focuses on the political economic issues to the exclusion of engineering details. So readers expecting another "The Path Between the Seas" might be a little disappointed. This is more a political biography than an engineering biography of the dam. Otherwise, the prose keeps the listener's attention and the reading of Norman Dietz is excellent.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Mr. Hiltzik could have used a really aggressive editor on this one. I love a good backstory, but I have a limit when it comes to running down so many rabbit trails. Also, Norman Dietz's narration is--and I hate to be harsh, but this is the truth--somewhat grandfatherly sounding. A subject matter this interesting should have made for a real "page-turner." As it is, I literally have to listen in short bursts to keep from becoming too frustrated.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful