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Brilliant Beacons A History Of The American Lighthouse

Author: Eric Jay Dolin
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 1631491539
Size: 60.36 MB
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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
Size: 50.41 MB
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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.

American Lighthouses

Author: Ray Jones
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 0762786205
Size: 70.67 MB
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A celebration of the great American lighthouses, their keepers, their histories, and their ongoing stories For more than two centuries, lighthouses have helped sailors find their way through treacherous waters, guiding them home or taking them safely through passages on their way to adventure. These historic towers and houses form a sparkling chain of lights along our coasts, a reminder of the past echoing with adventure and mystery, a lure for travelers looking for a glimpse into a romantic past. Completely revised and updated, American Lighthouses offers more than just a tour of 450 beautiful and historic navigational beacons dotting the coasts and lakes of the United States. This fully illustrated, one-of-a-kind handbook details their history and architecture and provides full information on visiting or viewing them. Included are many endangered lights, threatened by erosion or lack of funding, as well as “ghost lights,” which are no longer standing.

Leviathan The History Of Whaling In America

Author: Eric Jay Dolin
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393066665
Size: 63.37 MB
Format: PDF
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A Los Angeles Times Best Non-Fiction Book of 2007 A Boston Globe Best Non-Fiction Book of 2007 Amazon.com Editors pick as one of the 10 best history books of 2007 Winner of the 2007 John Lyman Award for U. S. Maritime History, given by the North American Society for Oceanic History "The best history of American whaling to come along in a generation." —Nathaniel Philbrick The epic history of the "iron men in wooden boats" who built an industrial empire through the pursuit of whales. "To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme," Herman Melville proclaimed, and this absorbing history demonstrates that few things can capture the sheer danger and desperation of men on the deep sea as dramatically as whaling. Eric Jay Dolin begins his vivid narrative with Captain John Smith's botched whaling expedition to the New World in 1614. He then chronicles the rise of a burgeoning industry—from its brutal struggles during the Revolutionary period to its golden age in the mid-1800s when a fleet of more than 700 ships hunted the seas and American whale oil lit the world, to its decline as the twentieth century dawned. This sweeping social and economic history provides rich and often fantastic accounts of the men themselves, who mutinied, murdered, rioted, deserted, drank, scrimshawed, and recorded their experiences in journals and memoirs. Containing a wealth of naturalistic detail on whales, Leviathan is the most original and stirring history of American whaling in many decades.

Fur Fortune And Empire The Epic History Of The Fur Trade In America

Author: Eric Jay Dolin
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393079244
Size: 63.27 MB
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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.

Lighthouses Of America

Author: Tom Beard
Publisher: Rizzoli Publications
ISBN: 1599621401
Size: 49.58 MB
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A spectacular collection of America's most iconic and stunning lighthouses. Through gorgeous photography, this book celebrates these unique and magnificent beacons and their history. The construction of lighthouses began as this new nation's first public-works project in 1789 and established the United States as a maritime world power by making ports safe for navigation. These structures--many still active and serving their original purpose even in the era of global positioning systems--are living museums, yet they often prove difficult to access for visitors due to their necessary remoteness. From Maine's West Quoddy Head on the easternmost headlands to the iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and the West Coast lighthouses from New Point Loma to New Dungeness and Michigan's Grand Haven Pier Lighthouse, the images here will delight both the armchair traveler and those who have taken the back roads or trekked across sandy beaches to visit these special and often artful buildings. This is a great gift for lovers of lighthouses, boaters, and those who live or dream of living on the seashore.

The Ultimate Book Of Lighthouses

Author: Samuel Willard Crompton
Publisher:
ISBN: 9781592231027
Size: 43.61 MB
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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.

Sentinels Of The Sea

Author: R. G. Grant
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
ISBN: 9780500519769
Size: 10.47 MB
Format: PDF
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Lighthouses have always unsettled and attracted in equal measure, highlighting the triumphs and failures in humanity's battle with the forces of nature. Taking as its heroes the lighthouses themselves, Sentinels of the Sea describes the engineering genius that allowed their construction on even the smallest of rock outcrops and the innovations that made the lights so powerful and reliable. Intricate, elegant architectural plans and elevations, and evocative period drawings and photographs showcase the innovative designs and technologies behind fifty historic lighthouses built around the world from the 17th to the 20th century. R.G. Grant's engaging and authoritative text chronicles the incredible feats of engineering and endurance that brought these iconic, isolated towers into being, the advances in lens technology that made the lights so effective, and the everyday routines of the lighthouse keepers and the heroic rescues that some performed. Packed with extraordinary stories of human endeavour, desperate shipwrecks, builders defying the elements and heroic sea rescues, the book also reveals the isolation and vulnerability of the dedicated lighthouse keepers.

Boston Light

Author: Sally R. Snowman
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing
ISBN: 1439657157
Size: 35.14 MB
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On September 14, 1716, Boston Light became the first lighthouse established in Colonial America. With many ships floundering in the treacherous waters of the Massachusetts harbor, there was a great need for navigational aid. At night and during storms, it was difficult to discern the entrance to the main shipping channel of Nantasket Roads, situated between the Brewster islands and the town of Hull. The ledges had become a graveyard for ships, resulting in great loss to human life and cargo—a deterrent to European colonization efforts. Ship captains and merchants petitioned the colonial government for a lighthouse to be erected on Little Brewster Island as a way of safe passage to the inner harbor. Three hundred years later, Boston Light continues to serve its purpose. Today, the lighthouse is protected by an ever-present Coast Guard civilian keeper and a cadre of specially trained Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteer assistant keepers.