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A Thread Across the Ocean: The Heroic Story of the Transatlantic Cable Paperback – 1 Jul 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (1 July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743208099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743208093
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.2 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

John Steele Gordon is a noted business historian, and contributor to The New York Times, Forbes and M. He is the author of The Great Game: The Emergence of Wall Street as a World Power: 1653 - 2000 and Hamilton's Blessing: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Our National Debt.

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THOMAS NIGHTINGALE HAD PROSPERED in South Carolina almost from the day he had arrived as a young man from his native Yorkshire in the 1720s. Read the first page
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kurt A. Johnson on 18 Oct 2004
Format: Hardcover
In 1853, entrepreneur Cyrus Field was introduced to Frederick Gisbourne, a man whose idea of laying a telegraph cable across the Atlantic, from Ireland to Newfoundland, had collapsed. Realizing the potential in such an undertaking, Field set up a corporation, and with unflagging energy he set out to make the transatlantic cable a reality. The New York Herald hailed the undertaking as, "the grandest work which has ever been attempted by the genius and enterprise of man." The project captured the imagination of the United States and United Kingdom, but few could foresee the trouble and hardships that the project would encounter.
I must admit that my wife gave me a strange look when I showed her this book. How could a book about a cable be interesting? Well, the fact is that author John Steele Gordon succeeds at making the story absolutely fascinating! After a rather confusing first chapter, the book launches into the story of the Atlantic Cable, the men who built it, and the society in which it appeared. The author succeeds in grabbing your imagination, making you turn page after page, dying to see what happens next. I really enjoyed this book, and recommend it to everyone!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Oct 2004
Format: Paperback
This book gives a very readable and at times emotional account of the venture to lay the first submerged telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean in the mid 19th Century. This is undoubtably one of man's greatest achievements and has had a profound impact on the world, yet today, the story of this great undertaking is hardly known. The ongoing struggle to fund the project, the immense technical and operational challenge, the numerous failed attempts, the current political and business climate at that time, are all part of this fascinating story of mankind's drive to acheive great things and to struggle on in the face of adversity. A great story of the industrial revolution, and a must read for any budding entrepreneur or risk taker as this is the ultimate story of one man's perseverance and battle against the odds to change the world.
My only reservation (and this may be a personal one as I am a technologist) is that I would have liked more technical information on how the system actually worked, although I do concede that this lack of technical detail may make for a more readable book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DOPPLEGANGER TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 Aug 2009
Format: Paperback
Cyrus Field's energy, commitment and, it must be said, seemingly to all others his unwarranted optimism, drove through this world changing event.

He got together a group of great minds, Samuel Morse, William Thomson (later Lord Kelvin), Isambard Kingdom Brunel and many others to use the emerging technology of telegraphy to bridge the Atlantic with a cable and unite the Old and New Worlds.

The struggle to succeed required 10 years of Field's effort, millions of dollars in investment, the solution of many technological problems and the necessity for him to cross the Atlantic repeatedly to 'keep the show on the road' when spirits and investment were flagging.

That Field succeeded is one one the greatest entrepreneurial achievements of the 20th century and is recounted in a gripping and most interesting way by the author John Steele Gordon. You do not need to be an adherent to any specific area of interest to thoroughly enjoy this true tale of derring-do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter Jones on 3 Mar 2008
Format: Paperback
This is rather strange subject matter but Steele writes in a gripping, fast-paced style which should win anyone over to this heroic tale.

I first read about the transatlantic cable 20 years ago in a children's encyclopaedia and found it a fascinating story. This book covers the main points in its short 200 pages: the technology of the time, the excitement of the industrial age, the pace of new invention and the enormous changes that were taking place.

Add to this the context of our own times and the communications revolution we are now in, and this book makes a superb read for anyone intrested in history, communications, business or success.
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