It seemed so simple. Panama was less than fifty miles wide. How difficult could it be to build a canal across it? Tragically difficult. Panama was a disease-ridden death trap. Its mountainous rain forest was a challenge to the most brilliant engineers. Its oppressive heat exhausted the hardiest workers. Somehow the Panama Canal was built. Engineers found ways to cut through the rain forest. Medical visionaries conquered the diseases. Workers endured the jungle. Yet side by side with genius and selfless heroism were broken treaties, the domination of a small nation by a large one, and tens of thousands of black West Indian workers forced to live in second-rate, segregated conditions. This, too, is the story of the Panama Canal.
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