Liberty’s Torch: The Great Adventure to Build the Statue of Liberty

Grove Atlantic December 2016

“An absolutely brilliant and entertaining book—a delightful romp through a seemingly impossible history. It’s a bit amazing how much I didn’t know about the best-known statue in America, or its maker, Frédéric Bartholdi—a character so brazen and outrageous and charming that his life reads like a picaresque nineteenth-century novel. I delighted in every page.” —Elizabeth Gilbert, author of The Signature of All Things and Eat, Pray, Love

“Filled with outlandish characters, fascinating tidbits and old world adventure, Liberty’s Torch is a rollicking read about one of America’s most beloved and, until now, misunderstood, icons.” —Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

“Is there any more globally recognizable American icon than the Statue of Liberty? Or any about which Americans know less? In Elizabeth Mitchell’s capable hands, the fascinating story of its quixotic creation—the mix of idealism and hustle, selflessness and selfishness, a crazy dream realized with breathtaking ingenuity—is a perfect parable for the moment mongrel America arose to become the world’s spectacular, improbable colossus.” —Kurt Andersen, author of True Believers

“What we take for granted as a fait accompli was anything but, as we learn in this engrossing, witty, well-researched and surprising account of the Statue of Liberty’s bumpy path to glory. Mitchell does a beautiful job of breathing new life into a too-mythic tale, taking us behind the scenes to witness the hustling, chicanery, rivalries, back-stabbings, lies and disappointments that foreshadowed this eventually triumphant merger of patriotism, opportunism and the art world.” —Phillip Lopate, author of To Show and To Tell and Two Marriages

“Elizabeth Mitchell is an inspired writer and Liberty’s Torch is a great book. While the French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, is Mitchell’s colorful hero, a gallery of historical figures like Victor Hugo and Joseph Pulitzer make grand appearances. My takeaway from Liberty’s Torch is to be reminded that the Statue of Liberty is the most noble monument ever erected on American soil.” —Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History at Rice University and author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America

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