Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse

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Product Details

Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.4 X 1.6 inches | 2.1 pounds

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About the Author

Eric Jay Dolin is the best-selling author of numerous works in maritime history, including Black Flags, Blue Waters and Leviathan. A graduate of Brown, Yale, and MIT, he now lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts, with his family.


What better place to watch the United States taking shape than from its lighthouses? And what better author to take us to them than Eric Jay Dolin? With his usual narrative flair and wonderfully entertaining writing style, Dolin sheds all sorts of new light on American history.--Toby Lester, author of The Fourth Part of the World and Da Vinci's Ghost
This meticulously researched and fascinating book isn't just for maritime history buffs but for all of us who appreciate little-known tales of days gone by.--Michael Tougias, author of A Storm Too Soon and coauthor of The Finest Hours
A marvelously interesting and entertaining narrative...A skillful dramatist of such events, Dolin is as good a portraitist of characters who built and kept lighthouses...Dolin moves forward to chronicle the construction of numerous impressive towers in wildly windswept, picturesque settings. These classic lighthouses, featured in the book's many illustrations, and the keepers' tales attached to them exert an ineffably romantic attraction richly conveyed in Dolin's admirable presentation.-- "Booklist (starred review)"
The author of other masterly works on key aspects of American history and growth (Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America, 2010, etc.), Dolin here presents a thoughtful, straightforward chronicle of the American lighthouse, from the earliest, completed in 1716 at Little Brewster, in Boston Harbor, as a harbinger of burgeoning Colonial maritime growth, to the death of the last civilian keeper--at the Coney Island Lighthouse--in 2003...A delightful journey with excellent sketches, renderings, and resources for museums and organizations.-- "Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"
Here we have a full-bodied and fabulous history of one of America's most scenic and formative icons, the coastal beacons that defined a young nation's economic drive and determination to own the seas. Readers familiar with the irresistible narratives Dolin delivered in Leviathan or Fur, Fortune, and Empire can be confident that he has now done the same for the riveting history of America's lighthouses.--Rinker Buck, author of Flight of Passage and The Oregon Trail
Eric Jay Dolin has crafted a master work of research and storytelling. Brilliant Beacons is a fascinating ride through the rich history of lighthouses as strategic prizes in war, sources of technological innovation, and inspiration for architectural ingenuity that combines grace and strength. This is a book for anyone who has gazed with awe upon the sea.--Brian Murphy, author of 81 Days Below Zero
Eric Jay Dolin looks beyond the postcard romance of lighthouses to reveal a vibrant and vital history. From shipwrecks and wartime raids to poetry, bird migration, and the physics of refraction, Brilliant Beacons is a fascinating, page-turning, and, yes, illuminating read.--Thor Hanson, author of The Triumph of Seeds and Feathers
Brilliant Beacons is the best history of American lighthouses ever written.--Jeremy D'Entremont, historian at the American Lighthouse Foundation, and author of numerous lighthouse books
No other book on the topic is as detailed and well written. Brilliant Beacons should be required reading for anyone interested in American history.--Tim Harrison, founder and editor of Lighthouse Digest