Listed in: History · American History · Biography
With Alexander Robey Shepherd, John P. Richardson gives us the first full-length biography of his subject, who as Washington, D.C.’s, public works czar (1871–74) built the infrastructure of the nation’s capital in a few frenetic years after the Civil War. The story of Shepherd is also the story of his hometown after that cataclysm, which left the city with churned-up streets, stripped of its trees, and exhausted.
“John Richardson's lucid biography of the central figure in Washington’s municipal history before the 1970s will benefit Washingtonians but also historians of all American cities. Through painstaking research, Richardson reveals common themes in the two seemingly disconnected segments of Shepherd’s storied career: as the visionary but imperious public works official who made Washington a modern city in the 1870s, and then as the imperialistic operator of American-owned mines in Díaz-era Mexico.”
Alan Lessoff, author of The Nation and Its City: Politics, “Corruption,” and Progress in Washington, D.C, 1861–1902