A great, inspiring read for anyone interested in the engineering profession. I would suggest that you can skip some of the bridge chapters and spend more time on the second half, unless you are specifically interested in bridge engineering?
I found the start slow and laborious, I'm more than happy to report that this feeling didn't persist. The text built up great positivity towards the profession and reinstated my engineering aspirations. I'm glad the engine warmed up and showed significant horsepower because I came across 'Pushing the limits: New Adventures in Engineering' on an engineering reading list.
The latter part of the book that imparts Petroski's personal experiences with vast international projects, for example from the Three Gorges Dam in China, is truly fascinating. The holistic nature of modern day engineering is exposed in all its glory. The problems and mistakes are not hidden behind any boasting of achievement, the outcomes of the endeavours - bridges, dams, iconic buildings - are described in full colour cultivating further my admiration for the subject. Petroski talks about where engineering fuses with other disciplines, such as architecture and art, through figures such as Santiago Calatrava, and projects like the Texas Bonfire where consideration (or lack thereof) of Sociology is acknowledged as an aspect of, in this case, the failure of the project.
The final two chapters, 'Engineers' Dreams' and 'Engineers' Achievements' really wrap the text up well, giving a birds eye view of the whole scene, from past to future. If the first section on bridges was shorter and emulated the contents covered in the later chapters this book would be getting that last star. I think Petroski may have been too heavily influenced by a personal passion for bridges.