Concord, MassachusettsTwo weeks of talks, readings, and discussions celebrating the written and the spoken word.
Hank Phillippi Ryan
Eric Jay Dolin
Events: The American Lighthouse
Book: Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse
Eric Jay Dolin is the author of When America First Met China; Fur, Fortune, and Empire; and the best-sellling Leviathan, which was chosen by the Los Angeles Times as a best book of the year.
In Brilliant Beacons, a book rich in maritime lore and brimming with original historical detail, Dolin presents the most comprehensive history of American lighthouses ever written. Set against the backdrop of an expanding nation, Brilliant Beacons highlights the political, military, and technological battles fought to illuminate the nation’s hardscrabble coastlines. Readers are treated to a memorable cast of characters including the penny-pinching Treasury official Stephen Pleasonton, who hamstrung the country’s efforts to adopt the revolutionary “Fresnel Lens,” as Dolin presents tales both humorous and harrowing of soldiers, saboteurs, ruthless egg collectors, and most importantly, the light-keepers themselves.