by Peter J. Tomasi
Illustrated by Sara DuVall
Abrams Comic Arts, 2018
If you've never watched the Ken Burns documentary, "Brooklyn Bridge," you may not fully grasp the truly marvel qualities of the Brooklyn Bridge. Besides being an engineering masterpiece, it is an architectural beauty, and the result of a heroic and lengthy commitment by the Roebling family and countless workers. The Bridge: How the Roeblings Connected Brooklyn to New York is the true story in graphic format of the epic task of building the bridge.
The book begins in 1852, when the bridge was just a dream in the mind of John Augustus Roebling and his son Washington. Washington Roebling's father was a non-nonsense man, who doled out praise sparingly, but had great faith in his son. In 1862, after designing the bridge and receiving approval for its construction, John Augustus Roebling died and the young Washington Roebling became the chief engineer—a job that he eventually shared with his wife, Emily, after he contracted what was then an unknown disease.
Peter J. Tomasi tells this heroic story with little need for explanatory text, employing artistic license to recreate dialogue that rings true and gives a real feel for the political and personal dramas that unfolded throughout the fourteen years that passed during the bridge's construction.This is not an entirely personal story however, Tomasi includes ample description of the actual engineering of the bridge—a process with many failures and tragedies on the road to eventual success.
This is Sara DuVall's first graphic novel and the style is simple and appealing. The colors are bright and engaging, but background details are minimal, allowing the reader to focus on the expressions, the emotions, and the individual episodes that tie this epic story together.
The Bridge: How the Roeblings Connected Brooklyn to New York is well researched and accurately captures in graphic format this engineering marvel and the personal triumphs and sorrows associated with it.
See a slide show of images from The Bridge at Abrams Books.
|"View of Manhattan waterfront and Brooklyn Bridge under construction; temporary footbridge " The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1877|
Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy, The New York Public Library. "View of Manhattan waterfront and Brooklyn Bridge under construction; temporary footbridge " New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 18, 2018. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/75c1c390-9f35-0132-e3a4-58d385a7b928
|View of Manhattan from Brooklyn; men working on bridge cables; Fulton ferry boat "Hamilton"; sailboats, 1885|
|"Pedestrians on the Promenade (copy of #23:7)" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1895.|
Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy, The New York Public Library. "Pedestrians on the Promenade (copy of #23:7)" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 18, 2018. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/bfc671e0-9f3a-0132-96cc-58d385a7bbd0
Note: My copy of The Bridge was provided by the publisher.