I’ve started listening to the David McCullough audiobook of The Path Between the Seas, which is about the construction of the Panama Canal. So far I’m only on disc 4 of 8, so there’s much more historical narrative to go (for starter’s we’ve only finished the abortive French attempt, with much French pronunciational flourish by Edward Herrmann). So this NYT article by Natalie Angier, a great science writer who wrote the very interesting Woman: An Intimate Geography, about the current expansion of the Canal and the paleontology excavation going on, was right up my alley.
I plan to expand more on the McCullough book about the Panama Canal once I’m farther into it. It’s intriguing though, in light of having also listened to his book on the Brooklyn Bridge. These two engineering feats were contemporaries of each other (well, the French Canal attempt was), which definitely enlivens my knowledge of the late 1800s.