The Hoover Dam: The Story of Hard Times, Tough People and The Taming of a Wild River
The Hoover Dam: The Story of Hard Times, Tough People and The Taming of a Wild River
The Hoover Dam: The Story of Hard Times, Tough People and The Taming of a Wild River The Hoover Dam: The Story of Hard Times, Tough People and The Taming of a Wild River

* Book Type:

Not Available Online
Publisher: Mikaya Press

Author Statement: by Elizabeth Mann ; illustrated by Alan Witschonke
Series Name: Wonders of the World Book
Audience: Juvenile
Age range lower: 9
Age range upper: 13
Specs: full color illustrations, gatefold map
Pages: 48
Trim Size: 10" x 10" x 1/4"
Language code 1: eng
Publication Date: 20060912
Copyright Year: 2001
Price: Select Below

The Hoover Dam: The Story of Hard Times, Tough People and The Taming of a Wild River

Now in paperback: A dramatic and compelling history of one of the great engineering feats: the Hoover Dam. This illustrated history has both human drama: danger, suffering, courage and genius; and technological achievement in a seamless package.

Now in paperback!

They called the river the Red Bull. Desert silt gave the Colorado its distinctive color, but it was its power and unpredictability that made its fierce reputation. Speeding down from the high Rockies, the Colorado would flood without warning, wiping out any farmer foolish enough to settle near its banks.

But what if the Red Bull could be tamed? Farmlands irrigated by the Colorado's waters could bloom in the desert. Cities electrified by the Colorado's power could grow and prosper. The Hoover Dam grew from this dream and with it much of the modern American west.

Built in the middle of The Great Depression, the Hoover Dam was set in an unforgiving landscape whose climate defied habitation much less intense, backbreaking physical labor. Yet, during those hard times and in that desolate place, there rose an extraordinarily sophisticated feat of modern engineering.

The Hoover Dam is the dramatic story of the danger, suffering, courage and genius that went into the building of one of America's most famous landmarks.

Wonders of the World series

The winner of numerous awards, this series is renowned for Elizabeth Mann's ability to convey adventure and excitement while revealing technical information in engaging and easily understood language. The illustrations are lavishly realistic and accurate in detail but do not ignore the human element. Outstanding in the genre, these books are sure to bring even the most indifferent young reader into the worlds of history, geography, and architecture.

"One of the ten best non-fiction series for young readers."
- Booklist


Elizabeth Mann has written nine Wonders of the World books, an award-winning series. She is former teacher in New York, holds an M.S.E. and is cofounder of Mikaya Press.

Alan Witschonke is the illustrator of four Wonders of the World books: The Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, The Great Wall and Hoover Dam.


High above the river, work of a different kind was going on. Giant grooves were being cut into the canyon walls, notches that would securely hold each end of the concrete dam. There were also areas of loose rock -- the results of years of weathering -- that had to be removed. Even a small piece of rock falling from a great height could crush the skull of a worker below. Drilling and blasting the rock on the canyon walls was the job of the "high scalers."

High scalers dangled like spiders hundreds of feet above the river on little wooden swings tied to the end of a single rope. Their waist belts were heavy with tools and water bags. They lowered themselves down the cliff face, turned on their noisy jackhammers and went to work drilling the rock and placing dynamite charges. Thousands of tourists who visited the dam site every year were captivated by the daring high scalers, and the high scalers delighted in an audience. When their supervisors weren't watching, they did tricks on their swings that had the crowd gasping and applauding.

Although the possibility of a plunge to certain death was always present, falling rocks and tools proved to be greater danger, and workers devised a way to protect themselves. They placed on cloth hat (like today's baseball cap) inside another, so that the brims faced in opposite directions. Then they soaked the doubled hat in tar and let it dry, creating hard hats. They worked so well that Frank Crowe ordered factory-made hard hats for everyone on the job.

"But that was a good job. I got paid $5 a day to start with. Afterwards I got $5.60. I believe that was one of the safest jobs they had. I think there was less people got hurt on high scaling than there was on lots of other jobs. It wasn't worse than anything else. One thing, you were sitting down all the time. It was a sitting down job."
Joe Kine
High Scaler

Author Events   Firefly Books Fall 2021 Catalog PDF