The George Washington Bridge:
Poetry in Steel

Thu, Feb 26, 2009
Rutgers University Press

Intimate and engaging, Michael Rockland’s rich narrative presents perspectives on the GWB that span history, architecture, engineering, transportation, design, the arts, politics, and the post-9/11 mentality. Stunning archival photos, from the bridge’s construction in the late 1920s through the present, powerfully complement the account of competition between the GWB and the Brooklyn Bridge that parallels the rivalry between New Jersey and New York City. Rockland profiles the Swiss immigrant structural engineer Othmar Ammann and explains how the Depression dictated the iconic, uncovered steel beams of its towers so admired today. Tales of accidents, an airplane crash, and suicides off its span; the appearance of the bridge in media and the arts; and the author’s own adventures scaling its massive towers on a cable animate the story of what Le Corbusier called “the most beautiful bridge in the world.”

Michael Rockland

Michael Rockland founded the American Studies Department at Rutgers while serving as Assistant Dean of Douglass College (1969-1972). Earlier, he had another stint in academic administration when he served as Executive Assistant to the Chancellor of Higher Education, State of New Jersey (1968-1969). This followed his years in the United States diplomatic service as a cultural attache at our embassies in Argentina and Spain (1962-1967).