In Designing Gotham, Logel provides a service by reminding us that New York City did not build itself. Histories of the city are inclined to focus on the political and economic forces instrumental in the growth and development of the nation’s leading metropolis. One obvious exception is David McCullough’s The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge (New York,1972), a work celebrating heroic engineering on a massive scale. As Logel states, “While much of this urban transformation has been documented, the role of individuals educated at the U.S. Military Academy on the ‘S’ turn of the Hudson River remains mostly unexplored or unnoticed in New York history” (3).

Concentrating on West Pointers, especially in their civilian roles, Logel is particularly interested in demonstrating West Point’s production of “a body of experts who advanced science, technology, and engineering throughout the nation, most notably through the Army...

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