Today, in a world in which news flashes around the globe in an instant, time lags are inconceivable. In the mid-nineteenth century, communication between the United States and Europe — the center of world affairs — was only as quick as the fastest ship could cross the Atlantic, making the United States isolated and vulnerable.,But in 1866, the Old and New Worlds were united by the successful laying of a cable across the Atlantic. John Steele Gordon’s book chronicles this extraordinary achievement — the brainchild of American businessman Cyrus Field and one of the greatest engineering feats of the nineteenth century. An epic struggle, it required a decade of effort, numerous failed attempts, millions of dollars in capital, a near disaster at sea, the overcoming of seemingly insurmountable technological problems, and uncommon physical, financial, and intellectual courage. Bringing to life an overlooked story in the annals of technology, John Steele Gordon sheds fascinating new light on this American saga that literally changed the world.
Throughout time, from ancient Rome to modern Britain, the great empires built and maintained their dominion through force of arms and political power over alien peoples. In this illuminating work of history, John Steele Gordon tells the extraordinary story of how the United States, a global power without precedent, became the first country to dominate the world through the creation of wealth.,The American economy is by far the world’s largest, but it is also the most dynamic and innovative. The nation used its English political inheritance, as well as its diverse, ambitious population and seemingly bottomless imagination, to create an unrivaled economy capable of developing more wealth for more and more people as it grows.,But America has also been extremely lucky. Far from a guaranteed success, our resilient economy continually suffered through adversity and catastrophes. It survived a profound recession after the Revolution, an unwise decision by Andrew Jackson that left the country without a central bank for nearly eighty years, and the disastrous Great Depression of the 1930s, which threatened to destroy the Republic itself. Having weathered those trials, the economy became vital enough to Americanize the world in recent decades. Virtually every major development in technology in the twentieth century originated in the United States, and as the products of those technologies traveled around the globe, the result was a subtle, peaceful, and pervasive spread of American culture and perspective.