From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
In the late 1860s, a brilliant engineer, Alfred Beach, tried to solve New York City's traffic-congestion problem by building a tunnel under the busiest streets, beneath some of the world's tallest buildings. He planned to run a subway system powered by blasting air. But he had to build it in secret to outwit the corrupt city boss, William Tweed. Readers, especially the tech-minded, will be held as much by the gripping, personal story as by the engineering details of Beach's plan, and also how the subway works today. Beach and his team worked at night, more than twenty feet underground, with dim lighting and in claustrophobic conditions, storing the dirt in a basement, carting it away in the dark--until, of course, the project was discovered and halted. Beach died long before New York City's subway was finally completed, in 1904. With period etchings and photos on every spread, this title evokes a strong sense of the power politics and the amazing efforts underground. Detailed source notes and a bibliography conclude.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2009 Booklist