Steam Road To El Dorado

Mile for mile, it cost more in dollars—and lives—than any railroad ever built

It was not long after the completion of the Panama Railroad in 1855 that Bedford Clapperton Pirn declared with perfect composure that of all the world’s wonders none could surpass this one as a demonstration of man’s capacity to do great things against impossible odds. Read more »

Madison Avenue’s Secret Conquest

Yanqui imperialismo, as any good Latin-American orator will tell you, is a pretty insidious affair. With the pictures on these pages, therefore, we are happy to report on one of its conquests so subtle and secret that neither the conquered nor, for that matter, the C.I.A. is aware of it.Read more »

A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama!

The Big Ditch had so far been a colossal flop, and Teddy Roosevelt desperately needed an engineering genius who could take over the job and “make the dirt fly.” The answer was not the famous Goethals, but a man whom history has forgotten.

The Panama Canal was the biggest, most costly thing Americans had ever attempted beyond their borders, as was plain to everyone in the summer of 1905, and particularly to the man most responsible for the project, Theodore Roosevelt. But as Roosevelt also knew full well by then, and as the American people were beginning to suspect, the Canal was so far a colossal flop.Read more »