Niagara: A History of the Falls

Pierre Berton, Author, Philip Turner, Editor
Pierre Berton, Author, Philip Turner, Editor Kodansha America $27 (480p) ISBN 978-1-56836-154-3
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-0-14-027016-7
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-7881-5350-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 504 pages - 978-0-7710-1217-4
Paperback - 978-0-7710-1221-1
Hardcover - 509 pages - 978-1-4416-1871-9
Hardcover - 480 pages - 978-0-385-66027-3
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-1-4384-2928-1
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The first Europeans to see Niagara Falls were struck with an awe akin to terror, but with the passage of a couple of centuries the site came to be regarded as the ultimate symbol of God's creative power. Even Charles Dickens, who didn't think much of what he found on this side of the Atlantic, was deeply moved. In the 19th century, the American side of the falls became a Mecca for honeymooners, first luring the rich and then the middle class as well. Later in that century, the unparalleled opportunity for hydroelectric power, combined with the development of alternating current, which meant that electricity could be sent over long distances, brought a wealth of industrial development. Canadian historian Berton (The Wild Frontier) tells dozens of absorbing tales about the region and those who passed through it: the ""funambulist"" Blondin, who danced on a tightrope high above the chasm; John Roebling, better known for the Brooklyn Bridge than for the one he built to span the Niagara River; the adventurers and crackpots who went over the falls in barrels; the lengthy struggle to close the Love Canal toxic waste dump. He tells them all superbly, aided by essential maps and a few reproductions of posters advertising some of the more bizarre stunts. (Jan.)
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