(K. Brent Tomer),
Chief Engineer: Washington Roebling, the Man Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge. By Erica Wagner. Bloomsbury; 365 pages; $28 and £25.
A BRIDGE, Erica Wagner says in a lovely turn of phrase, “is a place that is no place at all, that is in itself between”. People build bridges, physically and metaphorically, to connect places and people. “Chief Engineer” is Ms Wagner’s solidly constructed biography of Washington Roebling, the man who joined Brooklyn to Manhattan by the grace of a steel and concrete arc held aloft by a filigree of wire. It is a book about connection, but also about disconnection—the lifelong divide between Roebling and his father, John Roebling, also a celebrated engineer, and the son’s struggle to detach himself from the elder man’s influence.
Ms Wagner, the former literary editor of the Times and an occasional reviewer for this newspaper, has previously written about that…Continue reading