On January 8th, 1815, 5300 British troops attacked 4500 entrenched and prepared Americans outside New Orleans. In a battle lasting half an hour, the British suffered casualties totalling 2036. American casualties were 21. It remains to this day the worst defeat in the whole long history of the British Army. But the battle affected the outcome of ...
On January 8th, 1815, 5300 British troops attacked 4500 entrenched and prepared Americans outside New Orleans. In a battle lasting half an hour, the British suffered casualties totalling 2036. American casualties were 21. It remains to this day the worst defeat in the whole long history of the British Army. But the battle affected the outcome of the war not a bit, for the war was already over and had been for two weeks. A treaty of peace had been signed in Ghent on 24th December, to take immediate effect everywhere upon receipt of the news. Today, in a world in which news, complete with live pictures, flashes around the globe in an instant, time lags such as this are almost inconceivable. No one then thought the situation might be more than marginally improved, or that the US would ever be anything but remote from Europe, the centre of world affairs. But only 40 years later, a group of extraordinary men decided to use the emerging technology of telegraphy to bridge the Atlantic and unite the Old and New Worlds. "A Thread across the Ocean" tells the story of their epic struggle, one that would requite a decade of effort, millions of dollars in capital, the solution of innumerable technological problems - many of them entirely unforeseen before work commenced - and uncommon physical, financial and intellectural courage. But when they were done, these men had changed the world.
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Very well written story about an historic event most of us give no thought to - the laying of the Atlantic cable. After many failures, the completion of the laying of the cable was - in the mid 19th century - considered one of man's greatest feats. It was considered as great an accomplishment to those alive then as the landing of a man on the moon was to current generations. The story is fascinating and it will engage you from the first page.
Publishers Weekly, 2002-07-22 Most of us don't think twice about picking up the phone and reaching someone in Germany in a matter of seconds. We often forget that less than 150 years ago, if one wanted to do business in Europe, one got on a boat for two weeks because the only way to do business was in person. Perhaps the biggest force in making worldwide commerce relatively simple was the laying of the transatlantic cable in 1866, which made communication first via telegraph, then by phone possible. American Heritage writer Gordon (The Business of America) chronicles the quest to lay the cable, offering a fascinating account that will appeal to history buffs and businesspersons alike. On one level, it's a purely historical account of the battle to navigate the ocean's floor and to figure out not only what should be inside the cable but also how to keep it in place. On another level, by focusing on entrepreneur Cyrus Field, the author traces what was in essence a venture capital deal. He begins with Field gathering wealthy investors the initial funding was equal to 2.5% of the entire federal budget and ends, after 12 years and five distinct failures, with all of them striking it rich. This is an appealing account on both levels and an entertaining reminder of the storied past of expensive technology gambles. Illus. Agent, Katinka Matson. (July) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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