In our lifetime the Panama Canal is taken for granted and thought of hardly at all. But once, when America was in its first century, the canal topped our list of national priorities. Why? David McCullough's books brings to life the issues that made the canal a vital concern to earlier generations. He tells the story in full, not only the engineering, but also the politics and finances. The canal made the reputations of some men, destroyed those of others. But the heart of the story is in the construction, when thousands of workers were massed for the assault. Like war, for many it was the adventure of a lifetime.