The Panama Canal was the costliest undertaking in history; its completion in 1914 marked the beginning of the " American Century." Panama Fever draws on contemporary accounts, bringing the experience of those who built the canal vividly to life. Politicians engaged in high-stakes diplomacy in order to influence its construction. Meanwhile, engineers and workers from around the world rushed to take advantage of high wages and the chance to be a part of history. Filled with remarkable characters, Panama Fever is an epic history that shows how a small, fiercely contested strip of land made the world a smaller place and launched the era of American global dominance.
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Matthew was born in El Salvador in 1970 to an expatriate family and while growing up lived in Britain, Norway and Barbados. He read English at Balliol College Oxford, then worked in a number of roles in book publishing in London from salesman to commissioning editor.
His first book, published in 2000, was about the Battle of Britain. Then followed Monte Cassino, Panama Fever, The Sugar Barons and Goldeneye. HIs new book, published on 13 August, tells the extraordinary story of Willoughbyland, the forgotten seventeenth-century English colony in Surinam that was exchanged with the Dutch for New York.
When not writing/staring out of the window, he loves making sushi, pubs, growing stuff and visiting remote places.
He is a member of the Authors Cricket Club, and wrote a chapter of A Season of English Cricket from Hackney to Hambledon. He is also a contributor to the Oxford Companion to Sweets.
He lives in East London with his wife, three children and annoying dog.