The Dreamers Behind the Interstate Highway System

Josh Stephens reviews Big Roads by Earl Swift, which profiles Thomas MacDonald and Frank Turner, the civil engineers who made the Interstate Highway System a reality.

Recently chosen as a Top 10 Urban Planning Book of 2012 by Planetizen, Earl Swift's The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways explains that the Interstate Highway System didn't just magically appear after Eisenhower proposed it.

Stephens writes:

"Though the Interstate Highway System bears Eisenhower's name and is generally credited to him, Swift gives credit to the forgotten engineers who envisioned a national road system while Ike was scarcely out of Basic Training."

Stephens says the book takes a fairly neutral tone to the project, explaining all sides of the story, including how the new highways divided cities along racial lines:

"All told, the government committed 750,000 eminent domain takings in the construction of the interstates."

Full Story: Reclaiming the Interstates from Ike

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