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[*The Path Between the Seas*](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Path_Between_the_Seas) is a huge, well-written, monstrous tome of a book about the construction of the Panama Canal, for those interested. It’s one of my favorite nonfiction books.
This jungle was at the time one of the most inhospitable places in the world. (And remains so – there’s still no road through the Darien Gap, leaving South and North America unconnected by road!)