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Download Colossus: Hoover Dam and the Making of the American Century Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Colossus: Hoover Dam and the Making of the American Century Audiobook, 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: June 2010 ISBN: 9781400186785
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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. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Hiltzik tells the dam's tale well, with majestic sweep and a degree of detail that by rights ought to be numbing, but isn't; every iota of material fits snugly into the narrative, which, unlike the river, flows freely. San Franciscio Chronicle

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 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 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 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 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! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cookie Lopez | 10/21/2013

    " There were very dry parts to the book - it's seemed repetitive, even though it may not have been. Just an OK read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janice | 10/20/2013

    " Very good history book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Charlie Newfell | 9/10/2013

    " 3 1/2 stars. The first 40% was a drag, as it focused on water rights and political infighting. I wanted to read of the engineering challenges, bravery, and worker risks that took up the rest of the book, which was well done. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jillian | 6/2/2013

    " The author does a good job of outlining the history of the Columbia River leading up to the construction of the Hoover Dam as well as the technological advances required for the construction of the dam and how those advances translate to our modern lives. Great book for engineers. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alan | 5/6/2013

    " I was more interested in the building side than the politics. This is slow going. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Derek Halvorson | 3/24/2013

    " Fascinating story of the impact--mental and economic--of the Hoover Dam project. Also a potent reminder of the limits of human endeavor. A little tedious at points, when Hiltzik dives into the details of dam construction or contract negotiation, but overall a good read and an important reminder. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alex | 2/5/2013

    " While the addition of the little anecdotes every few paragraphs provided a welcome respite from the more dry facts about the building, I felt that for a book supposedly concerned with the Hoover Dam, it spent very little time actually discussing the dam itself. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David R. | 2/5/2013

    " An outstanding account of the raising of Hoover Dam in the 1930s. Hiltzik gives ample attention to the issues of its conception, the brutality of its construction, and the politics of water use in the southwest. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy Graham | 1/27/2013

    " Fascinating account of what may be the most audacious construction project in history. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Malachi | 1/25/2013

    " The book was good at the beginning and end but in the middle it drags as the talk about boring, mind numbing negotiation meetings. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Doug Hauser | 10/23/2012

    " Very interesting history of the Hoover Damn construction. A little dry at the beginning of book that leads you to the building of the damn. But the actual construction phase of the book is very interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason Landau | 10/22/2012

    " Fascinating non-fiction on the making of this iconic dam. History of an area I had no prior info on. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jason | 7/24/2012

    " Assigned review for AudioFile Magazine "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Richard Wolf | 11/18/2011

    " This make encouraged me to make a road trip to find the current lower Colorado River and learn about the environment that it changed. The influence of man is almost unimagineable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jim Gallen | 10/26/2011

    " The Hoover Dam, its benefits and its cost. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason Keenan | 9/18/2011

    " Interesting story of how the massive dam was built - and the kind of political will and trickery it took. But more interesting is the story of the construction challenges. Never realized the kind of co-ordination that goes into a project - or how contracts and bids are structured. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 11/11/2010

    " tremendous start about something I've seen but knew little about Hoover Dam's conseuence and antecedent history

    good book but I would have liked more about the effect of the dam on modern America "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mal | 10/27/2010

    " outstanding analysis of the origins and completion of this most impressive engineering feat. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy Graham | 8/9/2010

    " Fascinating account of what may be the most audacious construction project in history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ross | 8/8/2010

    " Great book, really enjoyed this one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Malachi | 8/6/2010

    " The book was good at the beginning and end but in the middle it drags as the talk about boring, mind numbing negotiation meetings. "

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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 has won awards for outstanding business commentary and outstanding legal reporting.

About the Narrator

Norman Dietz is a writer, voice-over artist, and audiobook narrator. He has won six Earphones Awards and was named one of the fifty “Best Voices of the Century” by AudioFile magazine. He and his late wife Sandra transformed an abandoned ice-cream parlor into a playhouse, which served “the world’s best hot fudge sundaes” before and after performances. The founder of Theatre in the Works, he lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.