The Path Between the Seas - Study Guide Book 1, Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

David McCullough
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"Consensus of One" shows how only de Lesseps' preconceived notions matter at the 1879 Congris International d'Ytudes du Canal Interocyanique in Paris. He personally selects and invites 136 leading engineers, naval officers, economists and explorers from 22 countries, controls the agenda, rules, committees and entertainment. The deliberations of the Technical Committee, dominated by French non-engineers, are the only ones that matter. Selfridge, Amman and Menocal present reports. Selfridge advocating the Darien route, and the others Nicaragua. Menocal, in a polished, confident, five-hour "technical exposition," shows how engineering can be minimized by damming the San Juan River to create a navigable body of water with only ten locks at either end. The crossing is three times longer than at Panama but requires no more digging and, at $65.6 million, can be achieved for a third of Wyse's estimate. Wyse's vague presentation and inability to discuss the Chagres River...

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This section contains 740 words
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