The building of the Brooklyn Bridge is the stuff great dramatic stories are made of, and it is also a metaphor. In the years around 1870, when the project was undertaken, the concept of building a suspension bridge to span the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn required a vision and determination comparable to that which went to sending a space craft to the moon. Throughout the fourteen years of its construction, the odds against the successful completion of the bridge seemed staggering. Bodies were crushed and broken, lives lost, political empires fell, and surges of public emotion constantly threatened the project. The Brooklyn Bridge might not have been built had it not been for Emily Roebling, who was determined to complete the work of her husband, Washington Roebling (the Chief Engineer), and her son who both dies during the time of construction. This is not merely the saga of an engineering miracle: it is a sweeping drama of the social climate of the time and of the heroes and rascals who had a hand in either constructing or obstructing the great enterprise.