In 1968 the world’s largest antique went to America.
But how do you transport a 130-year-old bridge 3,000 miles?
And why did Robert P. McCulloch, a multimillionaire oil baron and chainsaw-manufacturing king, buy it?
Why did he ship it to a waterless patch of the Arizonan desert?
Did he even get the right bridge?
To answer these questions, it’s necessary to meet a peculiar cast.
Fleet Street shysters · Revolutionary Radicals · Frock-coated industrialists · Disneyland designers · Thames dockers · Guinness Book of Records officials · The odd Lord Mayor · Bridge-building priests · Gun-toting U.S. sheriffs · An Apache Indian or two
And a fraudster whose greatest trick was to convince the world he ever existed
Roll up, then, for the story of one of the strangest events in Anglo-American relations. Curious, clever and sharp, this is history to delight in.
As much a social history as the story of the bridge, this entertaining book is packed with facts but its light, sprightly tone makes bricks and mortar a source of human interest.
[Elborough] is a charming, wry companion, who wears his considerable learning lightly.
Wonderfully detailed… A fitting testament to the folly and wonder of human endeavour.
Elborough’s book is a fascinating mix of social and architectural history, travelogue and pop culture, but it is his ability to bring to life the disparate and often eccentric characters involved in the story that stands out.
An entertaining cultural historian of the Bill Bryson school…very interesting, and crammed with historical trivia.