The Tall Story of a Transatlantic Crossing
A brilliantly entertaining look at just what happened when London Bridge was sold and shipped to America.
In 1968 the world’s largest antique went to America.
But how do you transport a 130-year-old bridge 3,000 miles?
And why did Robert P. McCulloch, a multimillionaire oil baron and chainsaw-manufacturing king, buy it?
Why did he ship it to a waterless patch of the Arizonan desert?
Did he even get the right bridge?
To answer these questions, it’s necessary to meet a peculiar cast.
Fleet Street shysters · Revolutionary Radicals · Frock-coated industrialists · Disneyland designers · Thames dockers · Guinness Book of Records officials · The odd Lord Mayor · Bridge-building priests · Gun-toting U.S. sheriffs · An Apache Indian or two
And a fraudster whose greatest trick was to convince the world he ever existed
Roll up, then, for the story of one of the strangest events in Anglo-American relations. Curious, clever and sharp, this is history to delight in.
“As much a social history as the story of the bridge, this entertaining book is packed with facts but its light, sprightly tone makes bricks and mortar a source of human interest.”
Sally Morris, Daily Mail
“[Elborough] is a charming, wry companion, who wears his considerable learning lightly.”
Ian Sansom, Guardian
“Wonderfully detailed… A fitting testament to the folly and wonder of human endeavour.”
Claire Looby, Irish Times
“Elborough’s book is a fascinating mix of social and architectural history, travelogue and pop culture, but it is his ability to bring to life the disparate and often eccentric characters involved in the story that stands out.”
Ian Critchley, Sunday Times
“An entertaining cultural historian of the Bill Bryson school…very interesting, and crammed with historical trivia.”
Helen Brown, Daily Telegraph
“A style perfectly poised between the flourishes of fiction and simple matters of fact… On the evidence of London Bridge in America, it would probably be justifiable now to proclaim Elborough one of Britain’s finest pop cultural historians.”
Ian Sansom, Guardian
“Travis Elborough tells this glorious story with warmth and humour and a great wide-open spirit… Delightful.”
Markus Berkmann, Daily Mail
“Civil engineering has never been so much fun.”
“Elborough tells this whole strange story well, populating it with a cast of oddballs, cheats and chancers.”
Charles Holland, Icon
“The book is an elegant structure, its joins hidden.”
Michael Murray-Fennel, Country Life
“A fun, light-hearted read.”
James Innes Williams, Compass Magazine
“A splendid pontine read.”
“A delightful and informative romp.”
Richard Boon, N16
“As a chronicle of social and architectural history, this is an informative and fun read”