London Bridge in America by Travis Elborough

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The dimensions of the book are large and strange, but Elborough's style is what one might call cosy modern – vivid, chatty and amiable, unafflicted and unencumbered by vaguenesses or abstractions, aerated throughout by a kind of bemused good...
-Guardian

Synopsis

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. It includes: 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.
 

About Travis Elborough

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Travis Elborough is the author of three acclaimed books, The Bus We Loved, a history of the Routemaster bus; The Long Player Goodbye, which lamented the passing of vinyl; and Wish You Were Here, a history of the British beside the seaside. He regularly appears on Radio 4 and writes for the Guardian.
 
Published January 1, 2013 by FSG. 288 pages
Genres: History, Travel.
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Reviewed by Ian Sansom on Feb 06 2013

The dimensions of the book are large and strange, but Elborough's style is what one might call cosy modern – vivid, chatty and amiable, unafflicted and unencumbered by vaguenesses or abstractions, aerated throughout by a kind of bemused good...

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