London Bridge in America

James Book reviews, Reviews

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The Tall Story of a Transatlantic Crossing

by Travis Elborough | Jonathan Cape

Pop culture historian Travis Elborough, whose previous books include a look back at the Routemaster bus and record player, turns his attention to the famous story of London Bridge being rebuilt in the Arizonan desert town of Lake Havasu. Quickly, if disappointingly, negating the tale that the Americans thought they were buying Tower Bridge, Elborough brings to life all the various players: the London PR man Ivan Luckin, American entrepreneur Robert P McCulloch who founded the city, and his sidekick Cornelius Vanderbilt Wood Jnr, a theme park engineer. In one of his many asides befitting his style, Elborough even finds time to debunk the myth of Arthur Ferguson, the conman who supposedly sold Nelson’s Column and Buckingham Palace to other Americans, to reveal he never really existed. A fun, light-hearted read.

First published: Compass magazine, Spring 2013
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