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Download Panama Fever: The Epic Story of the Building of the Panama Canal Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Panama Fever: The Epic Story of the Building of the Panama Canal, by Matthew Parker Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (183 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Matthew Parker Narrator: William Dufris Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2008 ISBN: 9781482977530
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The building of the Panama Canal was one of the greatest engineering feats in human history. A tale of exploration, conquest, money, politics, and medicine, Panama Fever charts the challenges that marked the long, labyrinthine road to the building of the canal. Drawing on a wealth of new materials and sources, Matthew Parker brings to life the men who recognized the impact a canal would have on global politics and economics, and adds new depth to the familiar story of Teddy Roosevelt’s remarkable triumph in making the waterway a reality. As thousands of workers succumbed to dysentery, yellow fever, and malaria, scientists raced to stop the deadly epidemics so that work could continue. The treatments they developed changed the course of medical history. The opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 spelled the end of the Victorian Age and the beginning of the “American Century.” Panama Fever brilliantly captures the innovative thinking and backbreaking labor, as well as the commercial and political interests, that helped make America a global power. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An epic tale of human folly and endeavor, beautifully told and researched.”

    John le Carré, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Parker offers a detailed study of the myriad personalities and design plans associated with the work, but his limpid prose is best suited to accounts of the dangers the laborers faced.”

    The New Yorker

  • “An absolutely gripping account of the canal’s conception and construction…Exemplary history, vigorously told with a respect for complexity that enriches rather than obscures the pleasure of a great story”

    Los Angeles Times

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara | 2/16/2014

    " This was a fascinating story. It was a slow go at times, but I learned so much about the history of the Canal in anticipation of a Panama Cruise in April 2012. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Russell Woodward | 1/31/2014

    " at times, i got into this book for hours. then i'd put it aside and quit listening. there was a lot of great information with tons of "against all odds" tales about different parts of the canal. give this a listen or a read if you want to learn the intricacies of the canal. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy Oakes | 1/30/2014

    " Having been all the way through the canal within the past few months, I picked up this book to try to get a feel for how this marvel of engineering came about. Parker's book is very well written and does a fine job of explaining the history of the building of the canal so that non-technical people like myself can understand it. He begins in the time of the Spanish explorers, when Balboa was able to walk from ocean to ocean over the narrow isthmus of land there, through the French efforts and debacle under the aegis of Ferdinand deLesseps, the builder of the Suez Canal, through the Americans time there and their ultimate completion of the Canal. What Parker manages to convey is that the story of how America got its foothold in Panama is not a pretty one. Nor was the story of its construction -- the death tolls were staggering. Another plus of this book is that Parker avoids telling the story from solely the views of American white men; he takes a lot of his information from journals and stories left behind by workers from Jamaica and Barbados, whose treatment as minorities was unequal to say the very least. African-American workers looking for work there were soon disillusioned as well. Even though the people from the West Indies were lauded by the engineers as being the best workers, their treatment was deplorable. Parker also looks at the toll taken by diseases (yellow fever, malaria) and how the US Government at first pooh-poohed the efforts of Dr. William C. Gorgas, later Surgeon General of the US in his advocating of the eradication of conditions that were conducive to the spread of these diseases. The author's look at US intervention in Panamanian politics was eye-opening as well. Overall, it was a fine book; a bit rushed toward the end but still quite good. I would have liked to have read more about the effects of the canal-building effort on the environment, but I suppose that's another volume unto itself. Recommended for people who like a well-written and easily accessible history; also for people who are interested in the topic. Beware -- it's a weighty book but imho, well worth every second spent reading it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Richard | 1/26/2014

    " Great book to read before going through the Panama Canal. I read it and then went through it in their dry season. I need to go through one more time during rainy season. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David Cubbin | 1/19/2014

    " Well written and researched.interesting! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chuck | 1/16/2014

    " Need to travel the canal "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Clint | 12/30/2013

    " Interesting book. I am sure there are some out there that might be a little better about the subject but all-in-all an interesting read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrea | 12/21/2013

    " Fascinating book about the Panama Canal and the loooong process to get it built. I enjoyed the disease/medical part of this book more than the rest of it -- but I feel like I know so much more than I did when I started. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Larry Linguist | 12/15/2013

    " A well told story of the building of the Panama Canal, and all of the failures, triumphs, politics, and twists of fate in the building of this engineering marvel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kenny | 12/7/2013

    " A great story, but entirely to long! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nick | 12/7/2013

    " Ruins his account of this American engineering triumph with a lot of depressing facts about social injustice, American imperialism, and racism. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom Griffith | 12/5/2013

    " Apart from being completely sick of references to 'making the dirt fly', I was heartily impressed with this account of one amazing piece of engineering. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Inert1 | 11/22/2013

    " I enjoyed this a lot. The material was almost all new to me, and it was generally very well presented. How about those French? I had no idea. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt | 10/16/2013

    " Civil engineers are the shit! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Toby | 8/10/2013

    " Well done book, but wayyyy too long as an audiobook. I like it, but do I really need to know quite this much about the canal? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cmreinholz | 4/8/2013

    " Good read, I'd give it 3.5 stars if I could. But not a four star book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brad | 2/10/2013

    " i really liked the fist and third sections of this book, but found myself a little bogged down in the second section. i set it down for a couple days wondering if i should finish it, and once i picked it back up i was glad i did. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 11/25/2012

    " Did you know that the first foreign country visited by a current U.S. president was Panama? I certainly didn't until I read this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 El | 1/19/2012

    " A must read for those who are turn of the century history nuts, and those who love a Conrad-y tale of greed, power, and human hubris. Lots of political money and death. The Panama Canal shaped the 20th century, and this read spells out how. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Colin | 11/27/2011

    " A good history of the construction of the Panama Canal. This is very different from teh view provided in McCullough's Path Between the Seas. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andaye Hill | 10/6/2011

    " For anyone that is interested in the history of Panama and how it became the gateway of international travel, and commerce. This is the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hope | 8/27/2011

    " The subject matter of this book is really interesting, but the author relied far too heavily on quotations. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ann | 7/26/2011

    " I get bonus points for trying to bone up before I made my partial Canal transit. Despite the amazing story, this got pretty boring in places. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Clint | 7/17/2011

    " This book makes me want to go through the canal. This is a decent history of the tortuous building of the canal and the politics surrounding it, with lots of personal stories from the people involved. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 El | 5/16/2011

    " A must read for those who are turn of the century history nuts, and those who love a Conrad-y tale of greed, power, and human hubris. Lots of political money and death. The Panama Canal shaped the 20th century, and this read spells out how.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hope | 3/30/2011

    " The subject matter of this book is really interesting, but the author relied far too heavily on quotations. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 3/16/2011

    " Apart from being completely sick of references to 'making the dirt fly', I was heartily impressed with this account of one amazing piece of engineering. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Russell | 8/31/2010

    " at times, i got into this book for hours. then i'd put it aside and quit listening. there was a lot of great information with tons of "against all odds" tales about different parts of the canal. give this a listen or a read if you want to learn the intricacies of the canal. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nick | 9/1/2009

    " Ruins his account of this American engineering triumph with a lot of depressing facts about social injustice, American imperialism, and racism. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Richard | 11/2/2008

    " Great book to read before going through the Panama Canal. I read it and then went through it in their dry season. I need to go through one more time during rainy season. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dale | 10/28/2008

    " Great historical story of the history behind the building of the Panama Canal. "

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