Gerard Koeppel. Conceived in the early 1800s and completed in 1825, the Erie Canal was the boldest and biggest American engineering project of its century, with enduring political, social, and economic effects. It was the Erie Canal that first opened up the West to American enterprise and imagination, bringing vast riches and a far-reaching vision to a rapidly expanding nation. In this compelling narrative, author Gerard Koeppel tells the complete, sweeping story of the creation of the canal, and of the memorable characters who turned a visionary plan into a successful venture. Koeppel’s extensive research includes major new findings about the construction of the canal as well as its enormous impact. Bond of Union provides a unique perspective on Manifest Destiny and the beginning of America’s self-perception as an empire destined to expand to the Pacific. Da Capo Press, 2009, 464pp.