Eric Jay Dolin is the author of Leviathan: The History of Whaling In America, which was chosen as one of the best nonfiction books of 2007 by The Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe, and also won the 2007 John Lyman Award for U. S. Maritime History; and Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America. He is also the author of When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail. A graduate of Brown, Yale, and MIT, where he received his Ph.D. in environmental policy, he lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children.
Here we have a full-bodied and fabulous history of one of America's most scenic and formative icons, the coastal beacons that defined a young nation's economic drive and determination to own the seas. Readers familiar with the irresistible narratives Dolin delivered in Leviathan or Fur, Fortune, and Empire can be confident that he has now done the same for the riveting history of America's lighthouses. -- Rinker Buck, author of Flight of Passage and The Oregon Trail Eric Jay Dolin has crafted a master work of research and storytelling. Brilliant Beacons is a fascinating ride through the rich history of lighthouses as strategic prizes in war, sources of technological innovation, and inspiration for architectural ingenuity that combines grace and strength. This is a book for anyone who has gazed with awe upon the sea. -- Brian Murphy, author of 81 Days Below Zero Eric Jay Dolin looks beyond the postcard romance of lighthouses to reveal a vibrant and vital history. From shipwrecks and wartime raids to poetry, bird migration, and the physics of refraction, Brilliant Beacons is a fascinating, page-turning, and, yes, illuminating read. -- Thor Hanson, author of The Triumph of Seeds and Feathers Brilliant Beacons is the best history of American lighthouses ever written. -- Jeremy D'Entremont, historian at the American Lighthouse Foundation, and author of numerous lighthouse books What better place to watch the United States taking shape than from its lighthouses? And what better author to take us to them than Eric Jay Dolin? With his usual narrative flair and wonderfully entertaining writing style, Dolin sheds all sorts of new light on American history. -- Toby Lester, author of The Fourth Part of the World and Da Vinci's Ghost This meticulously researched and fascinating book isn't just for maritime history buffs but for all of us who appreciate little-known tales of days gone by. -- Michael Tougias, author of A Storm Too Soon and coauthor of The Finest Hours No other book on the topic is as detailed and well written. Brilliant Beacons should be required reading for anyone interested in American history. -- Tim Harrison, founder and editor of Lighthouse Digest