Panama Library

Biblioteca De Panamá

Independence, French and American Canal Construction

Abbott, Willis J. Panama and the Canal in Picture and Prose. New York: Syndicate Publishing Company, 1913. Hardcover, 412 pages.

(Review Pending). Review pending. Over 600 photos, sketches and maps. One of the most common Panama Canal books.

Allen, Emory Adams. Our Canal in Panama: The Greatest Achievement in the World's History. Cincinatti: United States Publishing Company, 1913. Hardcover, 432 pages.

(Review Pending). 53 illustrations. Fairly common.

Arias, Harmodio. The Panama Canal: A Study in International Law and Diplomacy. London: P. S. King & Son, 1911. Hardcover. Reprinted by University Press of the Pacific, 2000. Softcover, 212 pages.

(Review Pending). Rare.

Avery, Ralph Emmett. America's Triumph at Panama. Chicago: The L. W. Walter Company, 1913. Hardcover, 384 pages.

***** (Five Stars). Avery packed this book full of illustrations - it probably has at least 600 photos. The book is comprehensive, covering from the Spanish discovery and exploration of Panama to the completion of the Canal and the Panama Pacific Expostion. It is well-written, and in spite of the book title is not one of the sickening books written by an American on an ego trip. I highly recommend this one. Avery's book is fairly common, and copies frequently come up for bid in the online auctions.

Barrett, John. Panama Canal: What It Is, What It Means. Washington: Pan American Union, 1913. Hardcover.

(Review Pending). Review pending.

Bennett, Ira E. History of The Panama Canal: Its Construction and Builders. Washington: Historical Publishing Company, 1915. Builders Edition. Hardcover, 543 pages.

(Review Pending). Some illustrations. Scarce or rare.

Bishop, Farnham. Panama, Past and Present. New York: The Century Company, 1913 (1916 Revised edition). Hardcover, 279 pages (in 1916 edition).

***** (Five Stars). Covers from Columbus through near the end of the Canal construction. Farnham Bishop was the son of Joesph Bishop, the Secretary of the Isthmian Canal Commission. It is well-written and includes some information not found elsewhere. Accurate. You can tell the author resided on the isthmus for years instead of a few months like many of the other authors from this time period. Rare.

Bishop, Joseph Bucklin. The Panama Gateway. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1913. Revised edition, 1915. Hardcover, 459 pages.

(Review Pending). Bishop was the Secretary of the Isthmian Canal Commission. This volume starts with the Spanish discovery of Panama and ends with the Pacific waters being let into the Canal (it was written before the Canal was completed).

Bishop, Joseph Bucklin and Farnham Bishop. Goethals: Genius of the Panama Canal. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1930. Hardcover, 493 pages.

**** (Four Stars). A well-written account by Joseph Bishop, who was the Secretary of the Isthmian Canal Commission, and his son Farnham. This book allows you to gain a lot of insight into Goethals, and I recommend it. Ten illustrations. Scarce or rare. My copy cost around $32.

Bunau-Varilla, Philippe. From Panama to Verdun: My Fight for France. Philadelphia: Dorrance and Company, 1940. Hardcover, 277 pages.

*** (Three Stars). Phillippe Bunau-Varilla (1859-1940) was chief engineer for the French attempt to build the Panama Canal, during a period towards the end of the effort when his superiors had died or resigned. When the French attempt eventually failed, Bunau-Varilla decided that one way or another the canal should be completed. He saw the completion of the canal, even by the Russians or the Americans (as described in this book), as vindication of the French. His writings reveal him as an egotistical but patriotic Frenchman. This book is autobiographical in that it goes through events in his life from his arrival in Panama up until 1940. It focuses however on his acheivements, near misses and the Panama scandal rather than other life events. I found the beginning description of the situation in Panama the most interesting, and got lost in the discussion of the Panama scandal. Bunau-Varilla was definitely an influential individual in the creation of the Panama Canal and other fields (he received medals from various French towns for his inovative technique of chlorinating water), but toots his own horn incessantly in his writings. It has seven illustrations, four of which are photos. This book is rare.

Bunau-Varilla, Philippe. The Great Adventure of Panama: Wherein Are Exposed Its Relation To the Great War and also the Luminous Traces of The German Conspiracies Against France and the United States. New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1920. Hardcover, 267 pages.

*** (Three Stars). Phillippe Bunau-Varilla was chief engineer for the French attempt to build the Panama Canal, during a period towards the end of the effort. When the French attempt failed, Bunau-Varilla decided that one way or another the canal should be completed. He saw the completion of the canal, even by the Americans, as vindication of the French. His writings reveal him as an egotistical but patriotic Frenchman (for instance, he takes credit for delaying World War I by nine years). The first 160 pages of this book are spent accusing the Germans of various conspiracies (without substantive proof). Then in Chapter 12 Bunau-Varilla launches in a 100 page account of how he personally brought brought about the Panama Revolution and the Panama Canal treaties. This account is of interest, since there is no doubt that Bunau-Varilla played a substantial role in these events (incidentally poisoning US-Panama relations from the get-go). How true or not it is you'll have to decide for yourself. No illustrations. Rare. My copy cost around $33.

Bunau-Varilla, Philippe. Nicaragua or Panama. New York: Knickerbocker Press, 1901. Hardcover.

(Review Pending). Phillippe Bunau-Varilla was chief engineer for the French attempt to build the Panama Canal, during a period towards the end of the effort. When the French attempt failed, Bunau-Varilla decided that one way or another the canal should be completed. He saw the completion of the canal, even by the Americans, as vindication of the French. This book was written when he was lobbying the United States to build the canal in Panama rather than in Nicaragua. Rare.

Bunau-Varilla, Philippe. Panama: the Creation, Destruction and Resurrection. New York: McBride, Nast & Company, 1914. Hardcover.

(Review Pending). From references to this book in The Great Adventure of Panama, this appears to be the main account by Bunau-Varilla of his Panama Canal related experiences. Rare.

Chatfield, Mary A. Light on Dark Places at Panama. New York: Broadway Publishing, 1908. Hardcover, 291 pages.

(Review Pending). Review pending. Not illustrated. This volume is rare, but Julius Grigore sells a special reprint on ebay (ebay seller id

Collins, John O. The Panama Guide. Mount Hope, Canal Zone: I.C.C. Press, 1912. Softcover, 326 pages.

**** (Four Stars). Collin's Panama Guide is different than most of the books listed here in that it is intended primarily as a guidebook, rather than a history. It has shopping guides for Colon and Panama City, 57 illustrations as well as many merchant advertisements. It also includes street maps for Colon and Panama City. It discusses sites to see and architecture, history of Panama in general and various sites in particular, the stellar constellations to expect to see at various times of the year, etc. I found it very interesting. Collins and Albert Edwards (aka Arthur Bullard) were good friends. Scarce.

Considine, Bob. The Panama Canal. New York: Random House, 1951. The Landmark Book Series. Hardcover, 179 pages.

(Review Pending). Review pending. Intended for young adults. Illustrated with three maps, and a few drawings. Fairly common.

Cornish, Vaughan. The Panama Canal and Its Makers. Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1909. Hardcover.

(Review Pending). Scarce or rare.

DuVal, Captain Miles P., Jr. Cadiz to Cathay: The Story of the Long Struggle for a Waterway Across the American Isthmus. Stanford University Press, 1947. Hardcover, 548 pages.

(Review Pending). Scarce or rare.

DuVal, Captain Miles P., Jr. And the Mountains Will Move. Stanford University Press, 1947. Hardcover, 374 pages.

***** (Five Stars). This is a well-written account I found easy to read, accurate, and adding interesting details missing in histories written contemporaneously. Captain DuVal has attractive way of looking at the positive contributions of even those who failed in their attempts to build the canal. 27 illustrations. Scarce or rare.

Forbes-Lindsay, Charles H.A. Panama and the Canal Today. Boston: L. C. Page & Company, 1906?. Revised edition 1926. Hardcover.

(Review Pending). Review pending.

Franck, Harry A. Zone Policeman 88: A Close Range Study of the Panama Canal and Its Workers. New York: The Century Company, 1913. Hardcover, 314 pages.

***** (Five Stars). Franck is a wanderer and an author who worked for the Isthmian Canal Commission for about six months in 1912. I enjoyed his account of day to day life as a census enumerator and Zone policeman, and found it to be well written. It is illustrated with 50 photos. Scarce. My copy cost me $29.

Fraser, John Foster. Panama and What It Means. London: Cassell & Company, 1913. Hardcover.

(Review Pending). Scarce or rare.

Gause, F.A. and Carr. The Story of Panama, The New Route to India. Silver, Burdett & Company, 1912. Hardcover, 290 pages.

(Review Pending). 91 illustrations. Scarce or rare.

Goethals, George Washington. Government of the Canal Zone. Princetown: Princetown University Press, 1915. Hardcover, 493 pages.

(Review Pending). Scarce or rare. Twelve illustrations.

Gorgas, Marie D. and Burton J. Hendrick. William Crawford Gorgas. New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1924. Hardcover, 359 pages.

*** (Three Stars). Gorgas's widow and Hendrick present a biased view of Dr. Gorgas's life - that of strong hero worship. The perspective is that the Panama Canal project was all about sanitation - never mind the rest of "The Job." It is interesting to learn about Gorgas's life, so I recommend it for that reason. From glimpses of Dr. Gorgas's own words in this book and the Goethals biography, he was a lot more humble and got along better with Goethals than his wife did. Scarce or rare.

Gorgas, William Crawford. Sanitation in Panama. New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1915. Hardcover, 298 pages.

(Review Pending). Illustrated with 14 photos. Scarce or rare.

Haskin, Frederic J. The Panama Canal. New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1914. Hardcover, 386 pages.

(Review Pending). Review pending. There is a 1913 edition, which is one of the most common Panama Canal books, and a less common 1914 edition. 70 photographs and a pull-out map.

Johnson, Willis F. Four Centuries of the Panama Canal. New York: Henry Holt & Company, 1906. Hardcover. Reprinted by the University of the Pacific, 2002. Softcover, 524 pages.

(Review Pending). First edition is scarce or rare.

LaFeber, Walter. The Panama Canal: The Crisis in Historical Perspective. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978. Hardcover, 248 pages.

(Review Pending). Lafeber is a well-known and respected historian, and he is also a good author. This book is well-written, easy to read and yet historically accurate which is a rare combination. Illustrated with two maps. Scarce.

Marshall, Logan. The Story of the Panama Canal. Philadelphia: J.C. Winston Company, 1913. Hardcover, 358 pages.

(Review Pending). One of the most common Panama Canal books.

McCarty, Mary L. Glimpses of Panama and of the Canal. 1913. Hardcover, 182 pages.

(Review Pending). Very rare.

McCullough, David. The Path Between The Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870 - 1914. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1977. Hardcover, 698 pages.

***** (Five Stars). McCullough's book has been called the "definitive history" of the Panama Canal. He tells the story of the French failure and the American success in building the Panama Canal in great detail. He includes a lot of information on the behind the scenes manuvering. McCullough has a relatively modern writing style, more familiar to today's readers than the books published between 1912 and 1915. The length of this book may be intimidating at 698 pages. There are about 80 photos. This book is very common. You should be able to get a hardcover copy for under $10.

Mills, John Saxon. The Panama Canal: A History and Description of the Enterprise. London: T. Nelson & Sons, 1913. Hardcover, 344 pages.

(Review Pending). Double page map and seven black and white plates. Scarce or rare.

Nida, Stella Humphrey. Panama and Its "Bridge of Water." Chicago: Rand, McNally & Company, 1915. Revised editions, 1922, 1931. Hardcover, 208 pages (Both revised editions).

*** (Three Stars). Review of 1922 Edition. This was written as a schoolbook, and sometimes gives a simpler explanation of events than other books. I learned from it, sometimes because simpler is better, and sometimes just because of a new perspective. There are a few errors - for instance, calling the "Maroons" a tribe of Indians. It has lots of illustrations, perhap a hundred or so. Many are different than the usual ones found in these construction-era books. Scarce.

Pepper, Charles M. Panama to Patagonia: The Isthmian Canal And the West Coast Countries of South America. Chicago: A. C. McClurg & Company, 1906. Hardcover, 398 pages.

*** (Three Stars). About 40 pages are about Panama, and includes nine illustrations and one map. The year is 1906 and the Canal is just beginning to be built. The two chapters about Panama are "Economic Effect of the Canal" which is mostly speculation, and "The Isthmus of Panama". The Panama chapter gives a quick history summary, a brief description of the country, a discussion about the need for sanitation in order to build the canal, and the lessons of the first year. Scarce, but appears from time to time on ebay.

Rink, Paul. The Land Divided The World United: The Story of The Panama Canal. New York: Julian Messner Inc., 1963. Hardcover, 189 pages.

**** (Four Stars). Well-written. Hits the highlights of history related to building the Panama Canal, and does it well. Illustrated with several drawings. Scarce or rare.

Scott, William R. The Americans in Panama. New York: Slater Publishing, 1913. Hardcover, 258 pages.

**** (Four Stars). Scott starts with the Spanish discovery of Panama and goes through the canal being 90% complete in 1912. It includes about 30 illustrations (on 20 pages). Scott spent five months in Panama, including three months working for the Isthmian Canal Commission (ICC). He has pretty good coverage of the subject, and I found some information not covered elsewhere. Scott's attitudes are sometimes bigotted, for instance when he seems to feel that the French failed because they were French, and therefore incompetent. On the other hand, he has the opinion that the United States owed Columbia an apology and some enlightened ideas about the way the United States should interact with its Latin American neighbors. This volume is rare. I purchased mine for $15, but have not seen another copy offered.

Seigfried, André. Suez and Panama. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1940. Hardback, 400 pages.

**** (Four Stars). Seigfried is a Frenchman, who grew up in Paris when De Lesseps was known as "The Great Frenchman". Seigfried writing in about 1929 presents first the De Lesseps truimph in the Suez followed by disaster in Panama. Then he briefly touches on the American success, and has several chapters of Seigfried's thoughts on the political and military ramifications of each canal. It is interesting to see the world through his perspective. This book is scarce, but seen in online auctions from time to time. My copy cost me $10.50, but it is probably worth at least $20.

Simon, Maron J. The Panama Affair. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1971. Hardback, 317 pages.

** (Two Stars). Excerpt from the front flap "Maron J. Simon recounts in lively and authoritative fashion the complete story of one of France's greatest scandals...". I only made it half way through reading this book; I found it dry and hard to follow. There are seven pages of illustrations.

Thatcher, Maurice Hudson. Autobiography in Poetry. New York: Robert Speller & Sons, 1974. Hardcover, 215 pages.

* (One Star). Thatcher lived from 1870 to 1973, was a member of the Isthmian Canal Commission, governor of the Canal Zone (1910 to 1913), and later a member of Congress. The main bridge across the Panama Canal, built in 1961, was named after him as the Thatcher Ferry Bridge. I found the book to be a letdown, because it has a minimal amount of information about Thatcher and the events while he was Governor of the Canal Zone. The book includes about 20 poems connected with Panama, and many others not related. Thatcher's opinions of other men connected with Panama displays itself in the form of tributes to Stevens, Gaillard, Gorgas, Sibert, Balboa, Frederico Boyd and Belisario Porras among others. An interesting ommission is Goethals. Thatcher's estate published this book, as his will specified that at least 1000 copies to printed and distributed at no cost to public schools, libraries and his friends and family.

Weir, Hugh C. The Conquest of the Isthmus. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1909. Hardcover.

(Review Pending). Rare.

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