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Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse
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Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse by Eric Jay Dolin
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Category: History
Edition Date: 04/18/2016
Time left: Unlimited
ISBN: 0871406683
Quantity: 13
Shipping by: By Buyer
Decription: In a work rich in maritime lore and brimming with original historical detail, Eric Jay Dolin, the bestselling author of Leviathan, presents an epic history of American lighthouses, telling the story of America through the prism of its beloved coastal sentinels.
 
Set against the backdrop of an expandingnation, Brilliant Beacons traces theevolution of America's lighthouse system from its earliest days, highlightingthe political, military, and technological battles fought to illuminate thenation's hardscrabble coastlines. Beginning with "Boston Light," America'sfirst light- house, Dolin shows how the story of America, from colony toregional backwater, to fledging nation, and eventually to global industrialpower, can be illustrated through its lighthouses.
 
Even in the colonial era, the question of how best to solve the collective problem of lighting our ports, reefs, and coasts through a patchwork of private interests and independent localities telegraphed the great American debate over federalism and the role of a centralized government. As the nation expanded, throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, so too did the coastlines in need of illumination, from New England to the Gulf of Mexico, the Great Lakes, the Pacific Coast all the way to Alaska. In Dolin's hands we see how each of these beacons tells its own story of political squabbling, technological advancement, engineering marvel, and individual derring-do.
 
In rollicking detail, Dolin treats readers to a memorable cast of characters, from the penny-pinching Treasury official Stephen Pleasonton, who hamstrung the country's efforts to adopt the revolutionary Fresnel lens, to the indomitable Katherine Walker, who presided soheroically over New York Harbor as keeper at Robbins Reef Lighthouse that she was hailed as a genuine New York City folk hero upon her death in 1931. He also animates American military history from the Revolution to the Civil War and presents tales both humorous and harrowing of soldiers, saboteurs, Civil War battles, ruthless egg collectors, and, most importantly, the lighthouse keepers themselves, men and women who often performed astonishing acts of heroism in carrying out their duties.
 

In the modern world of GPS and satellite-monitored shipping lanes, BrilliantBeacons forms a poignant elegy for the bygone days of the lighthouse, a symbol of American ingenuity that served as both a warning and a sign of hope for generations of mariners; and it also shows how these sentinels have endured, retaining their vibrancy to the present day. Containing more than 150 photographs and illustrations, Brilliant Beacons vividly reframes America's history.
About author: I grew up near the coasts of New York and Connecticut, and since an early age I was fascinated by the natural world, especially the ocean. I spent many days wandering the beaches on the edge of Long Island Sound and the Atlantic, collecting seashells and exploring tidepools. Throughout my career, which included jobs as an environmental consultant and an environmental policy analyst, one thing remained constant--I enjoyed writing and telling stories, many of which have a connection to the natural world. And that's why I started writing books--to share the stories that I find most intriguing. 

My most recent book, WHEN AMERICA FIRST MET CHINA: AN EXOTIC TALE OF TEA, DRUGS, AND MONEY IN THE AGE OF SAIL (Liveright, 2012), was the winner for history, in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards; received a Gold Medal, History, in the Independent Publisher Book Awards; and was chosen as a Highly Recommended Book by the Boston Authors Club, and as a finalist for the New England Society Book Award. My last book, FUR, FORTUNE, AND EMPIRE: THE EPIC HISTORY OF THE FUR TRADE IN AMERICA (W. W. Norton, 2010), a national bestseller, was chosen by New West, The Seattle Times, and The Rocky Mountain Land Library as one of the top non-fiction books of 2010. It also won the 2011 James P. Hanlan Book Award, given by the New England Historical Association, and was awarded first place in the Outdoor Writers Association of America, Excellence in Craft Contest. The book before that, LEVIATHAN: THE HISTORY OF WHALING IN AMERICA (W. W. Norton, 2007), was selected as one of the best nonfiction books of 2007 by The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and The Providence Journal. LEVIATHAN was also chosen by Amazon.com's editors as one of the 10 best history books of 2007. LEVIATHAN garnered the the 23rd annual (2007) L. Byrne Waterman Award, given by the New Bedford Whaling Museum, for outstanding contributions to whaling research and history. LEVIATHAN also received the 2007 John Lyman Award for U. S. Maritime History, given by the North American Society for Oceanic History, was named an Honors Book in nonfiction for the 8th annual Massachusetts Book Awards (2008-2009), and was awarded a silver medal for history in the Independent Publisher Book Awards (2008). 

My next book, coming out in April 2016, is BRILLIANT BEACONS: A HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN LIGHTHOUSE. 
Price: $27.32 (13 left)
 
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