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Extended Audio Sample Colossus: Hoover Dam and the Making of the American Century, by Michael Hiltzik Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.00847457627119 out of 53.00847457627119 out of 53.00847457627119 out of 53.00847457627119 out of 53.00847457627119 out of 5 3.01 (236 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael Hiltzik Narrator: Norman Dietz Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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As breathtaking today as when it was completed, Hoover Dam ranks among America’s greatest achievements. The story of its conception, design, and construction is the story of the United States at a unique moment in history: when facing both a global economic crisis and the implacable elements of nature, we prevailed.

The United States after Hoover Dam was a different country from the one that began to build it, going from the glorification of individual effort to the value of shared enterprise and communal support. The dam became the physical embodiment of this change—a remote regional construction project transformed from a Republican afterthought into a New Deal symbol of national pride.

Hoover Dam went on to shape not only the American West but the American century. Michael Hiltzik populates the epic tale of the dam’s construction with larger-than-life characters, such as Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, William Mulholland, and the dam’s egomaniacal architect, Frank Crowe. Shedding real light on a one-of-a-kind moment in twentieth-century American history, Hiltzik combines exhaustive research, trenchant observation, and a gift for unforgettable storytelling in a book that is bound to become a classic in its genre.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Adrian | 1/28/2014

    " Very interesting history of the Hoover Dam and water rights issues in California and the west. This book will give you good insight into the water problems in the region today. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by G Gadus | 1/18/2014

    " I truly enjoying this masterpiece. Hiltzik's thorough research informs the reader of the backstory leading up to the audacious contemplation of Hoover Dam through to its amazing completion. Followed by a tour of the actual dam--I can't make a higher recommendation! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jeff | 1/11/2014

    " An excellent read, although the section dealing with the politics behind the decision to build the dam was a bit slow. Every engineer and project manager should read this to get a feel for what can and will happen over the course of a large politics. The book doesn't pull punches - there are a lot of details that you won't hear about on the tour - corruption, discrimination, labor relations, safety violations, etc. A facinating bit of insight to pre-WWII America. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Ann | 11/21/2013

    " This was a very fascinating look at one of the greatest building feats of the 20th century ... the building of the Hoover Dam. I was a bit disappointed in the fact that the author did not spend as much time on the actual building of the dam ... and the telling of the personal stories of workers. Instead, the author not only gives details about the actual building of the dam but gives a more detailed history of the politicking and wrangling over water rights and the bidding by construction companies for the building of this massive dam. It took years of planning and wrangling and politicking. The planning and building spanned at least three or four presidencies ... with Franklin D. Roosevelt, somehow ending up taking credit for the Hoover Dam being one of the crowning achievements of his New Deal. The construction companies that partnered to build the dam did so in partnership also with the Federal Government ... and this partnership ended up giving these companies near immunity from following any of states' safe labor laws. This as well as the fact that thousands of American families were out of work due to the affects of The Great Depression, gave the big construction companies free reign to treat their workers as dispensable commodities in the building this collossal dam. They knew if their present work force quit working, there were PLENTY of Americans who would take their place... most workers were just thankful to have a job. In the end, the dam was built and continues to supply water and hydroelectric energy to much of the West. It was perhaps the single most important contributing factor to the explosion of development of the West in the early 20th century! "

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About the Author

Michael Hiltzik is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author who has covered business, technology, and public policy for the Los Angeles Times for twenty years. In that time he has served as a financial and political writer, an investigative reporter, and a foreign correspondent in Africa and Russia. He currently serves as the Times business columnist. His other books include Colossus, The Plot Against Social Security, Dealers of Lightning, and A Death in Kenya. He received the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for articles exposing corruption in the entertainment industry. Among his other awards for excellence in reporting are the 2004 Gerald Loeb Award for outstanding business commentary and the Silver Gavel from the American Bar Association for outstanding legal reporting. A graduate of Colgate University, he received a master of science degree in journalism from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in 1974. He lives in Southern California with his wife and two children.