university press audiobooks
Home  |  Titles A-E  |  Titles F-P  |  Titles Q-Z  |  Authors  |  Categories  |  Narrators  | About UPA  |  Contact  |  Search
Diplomacy at the Brink
Albert Camus
Prophets, Gurus, and Pundits
The City on the Hill from Below
minimum width for cell
War in East Texas
The Hemingway Short Story
Turning to Political Violence
Conspiracy Theory in America

Hoover DamHoover Dam

An American Adventure

Joseph E. Stevens

Narrated by Kevin Charles Minatrea

Available from Audible

Book published by University of Oklahoma Press

In the spring of 1931, in a rugged desert canyon on the Arizona-Nevada border, an army of workmen began one of the most difficult and daring building projects ever undertaken—the construction of Hoover Dam. Through the worst years of the Great Depression as many as five thousand laborers toiled twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, to erect the huge structure that would harness the Colorado River and transform the American West.

Construction of the giant dam was a triumph of human ingenuity, yet the full story of this monumental endeavor has never been told. Now, in an engrossing, fast-paced narrative, Joseph E. Stevens recounts the gripping saga of Hoover Dam. Drawing on a wealth of material, including manuscript collections, government documents, contemporary newspaper and magazine accounts, and personal interviews and correspondence with men and women who were involved with the construction, he brings the Hoover Dam adventure to life.

Described here in dramatic detail are the deadly hazards the work crews faced as they hacked and blasted the dam’s foundation out of solid rock; the bitter political battles and violent labor unrest that threatened to shut the job down; the deprivation and grinding hardship endured by the workers’ families; the dam builders’ gambling, drinking, and whoring sprees in nearby Las Vegas; and the stirring triumphs and searing moments of terror as the massive concrete wedge rose inexorably from the canyon floor.

Here, too, is an unforgettable cast of characters: Henry Kaiser, Warren Bechtel, and Harry Morrison, the ambitious, headstrong construction executives who gambled fortune and fame on the Hoover Dam contract; Frank Crowe, the brilliant, obsessed field engineer who relentlessly drove the work force to finish the dam two and a half years ahead of schedule; Sims Ely, the irascible, teetotaling eccentric who ruled Boulder City, the straightlaced company town created for the dam workers by the federal government; and many more men and women whose courage and sacrifice, greed and frailty, made the dam’s construction a great human, as well as technological, adventure.

Hoover Dam is a compelling, irresistible account of an extraordinary American epic.


“Joseph Stevens’ Hoover Dam: An American Adventure is a pure marvel of scholarship and storytelling—history in the grand style. Whatever you may feel about this definitive expression of the Age of Engineering and its consequences, no better tale of the extraordinary effort that got it built has ever been told and none is ever likely to match it.”

—T.H. Watkins, Editor, Wilderness

“I thought it was marvelous—absolutely enthralling. The subject demands a great book—and here it is, the definitive work, written like fiction, on a truly mighty epic of twentieth-century America.”

—Alvin M. Josephy, Jr.

“The story of wedging the concrete monolith of Hoover Dam into the hell-hot depths of Black Canyon during the worst years of the Great Depression is inherently challenging and dramatic, and Joseph E. Stevens makes the most of it. The violence man inflicted on nature and nature on man, the labor problems and complex political and financial intertwining, the drudgery and danger, hairbreadth escapes and tragedies, human foibles and triumphs—all are played out on a bigger-than-life stage, backed by the author’s impeccable research, strong narrative sense, and firm characterizations.”

—David Lavender

All titles are published by:
University Press Audiobooks
an imprint of Redwood Audiobooks

University Press Audiobooks