Review: The Bridge: How the Roeblings Connected Brooklyn to New York

I recently watched a movie called Shock and Awe which brought up the fact that those in power, create their own truth. That’s evident in today’s political climate, where the current government’s stance is a clear disdain for immigrants and especially for refugees. We have regressed over a century back to the days when “immigrant” was a bad adjective for someone. We completely ignore the contributions from foreign born American citizens throughout our history. The fact today’s xenophobia and racism is coming from people in power, it’s even more alarming to hear. Some of America’s greatest figures, people we celebrate today weren’t in America, but we seem to ignore that fact or are completely unaware of our own history.

The immigrant story is one of hope and doing better for your kids. A parent their kids will do better than they have. They they’ll “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”.  I remember watching the movie Avalon with Aidan Quinn, and Kevin Pollak years ago and thinking that it was the American dream of building a world better for your family. Though that movie was purely fiction, it still resonated, and gave the audience an impression of the struggles many immigrants face when they come to America. When I heard about Peter J. Tomasi and Sara DuVall’s The Bridge, I could not wait. The graphic novel is about the immigrant brothers who built the Brooklyn Bridge.

We meet the Roeblings as they come to America, particularly the patriarch, August, and his most astute son, Washington. As the family business grows, so does their family. As the family tries to finds some semblance of normal, the family business waits for no one, and one of the last jobs August worked on but never saw come to fruition, was the Brooklyn Bridge, the company’ greatest undertaking. Washington pushes on, as the men who he employs follow him blindly because of his military background. They go through trials and tribulations, leading to discoveries from the American Revolution, to unexpected fires and deaths. Washington became victim of a malady himself, then known as Caisson disease, or what some people call “the bends,” leaving him bedridden and forcing Emily to be her husband’s eyes and ears at the work site. It’s a story of an amazing structure, and the family that built it, that helps define New York City and America.

Overall, the graphic novel is a spellbinding tale of how one man made structure connects one family to one another and forever to a city and the world. The story by Tomasi is engrossing, passionate, and epic. The art by DuVall is captivating and beautiful. Altogether, it’s an important story about the love of family and how dreams are what becomes part of our destiny.

Story: Peter J. Tomasi Art: Sara DuVall
Story: 10 Art: 9.8 Overall:9.9 Recommendation: Buy