The Path Between the Seas - Book 1, Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

David McCullough
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"The Hero" refers to the veneration that surrounds Ferdinand de Lesseps after the opening of his Suez Canal. Here and in the next three chapters, we learn how he motivates and directs the Panama project, which tarnishes his reputation. The other characters sketched in Chapter 2 are scarcely heroic, but we see how the threshold is passed, and progress begins on a canal.

De Lesseps is a gifted, passionate nobleman, born in 1805 to a family of distinguished diplomats, including father Mathieu and uncle Barthylemy, whose youthful adventures fill his mind. Ferdinand enters diplomatic service at age 19, and grows interested in canal building in the 1830s while posted in Egypt, when Prosper Enfantin arrives, wanting to channel across Suez. Enfantin succeeds the radical philosopher, Comte de Saint-Simon, in advocating building a network of highways, railroads and canals to save humanity from poverty and war. Enfantin...

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This section contains 911 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Path Between the Seas Study Guide
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