John Steele Gordon, "A Thread Across the Ocean"

Author Lecture Series

Wednesday, April 23, 2003 | 12:00 AM

Today, in a world in which news flashes around the globe in an instant, time lags are inconceivable. In the mid-19th century, communication between the United States and Europe -- the center of world affairs -- was only as quick as the fastest ship could cross the Atlantic, making the United State isolated and vulnerable. But in 1866 the Old and New Worlds were united by the successful laying of a cable across the Atlantic. John Steele Gordon's book chronicles this extraordinary achievement -- the brainchild of American businessman Cyrus Field and one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th century.