from the dust jacket of the 1944 Julian Messner edition
Goethals and the Panama Canal
From the time when the first faint whisperings of the new world came to the ears of Europe, man began to dream of a westward passage through the great land masses of North and South America. After many centuries, their dream came true in the mighty engineering work called the Panama Canal.
Here is the story of Panama, the Canal, and of the man who built it -- a great story of adventure and adventurers. As told by Howard Fast, it becomes the saga of the men who went down to the Isthmus to conquer it, explorers, Spanish Dons, pirates, gold hunters, and lastly, engineers. How they fought and worked and dreamed, and how finally their dreams came true in the completed "big ditch" makes as fascinating a tale as any piece of fiction.
Every detail of the Canal is simply explained, and a hundred mysteries are cleared up, such as how a ship is lifted over the mountains from ocean to ocean.
The chief character is George Washington Goethals [1858-1928], who supervised the building of the Canal, and while the book covers his childhood and later years, it deals particularly with Goethals' culminating achievement -- his work on the Panama Canal.
Today, when the Panama Canal is on everyone's lips, this book will have more than ordinary interest. No one can realize the full importance of the Canal who does not know what went into the making of it.