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In the summer of 1893, at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, an engineering marvel was unveiled and immediately captured the world's attention. It was a towering, web-like giant wheel, standing upright and rotating high above the city. Several stories taller than any existing American building, the Ferris Wheel carried adventure-seeking passengers to the dizzying height of 264 feet and provided panoramic views never before possible. George W. G. Ferris Jr. and his wheel helped usher America-eager to identify itself with ingenuity, entrepreneurialism, and innovation-into the 20th century. Yet the very wheel that came to define George Ferris in the end consumed him, leaving him ruined. This book is the first full-length biography of George Ferris. He was a civil engineer, an inventor, and a pioneer for his development of structural steel in bridge building. Circles in the Sky chronicles the life of the man responsible for creating, designing, and building the Ferris wheel, the only structure of its time to rival the Eiffel Tower. It is, at the same time, the story of the Ferris clan, one of the nation's oldest and most fascinating families.

The London Eye, erected in 1999 to welcome the new millennium, the Star of Nanchang, and most recently, the Singapore Flyer, have revived our love affair with Ferris wheels. Circles in the Sky will enchant anyone interested in engineering marvels, history, and the Ferris Wheel, which reminds us that America was built by dreamers and innovators such as George W. G. Ferris Jr.