The Rise and Fall of the Panama Canal : Code Switch The Panama Canal has been dubbed the greatest engineering feat in human history. It's also (perhaps less favorably) been called the greatest liberty mankind has ever taken with Mother Nature. But due to climate change, the Canal is drying up and fewer than half of the ships that used to pass through are now able to do so. So how did we get here? Today on the show, we're talking to Cristina Henriquez, the author of a new novel that explores the making of the Canal. It took 50,000 people from 90 different countries to carve the land in two — and the consequences of that extraordinary, nature-defying act are still echoing through our present.

The Rise and Fall of the Panama Canal

The Rise and Fall of the Panama Canal

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Author Cristina Henriquez next to the cover of her new novel, The Great Divide Brian McConkey/Ecco hide caption

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Brian McConkey/Ecco

The Panama Canal has been dubbed the greatest engineering feat in human history. It's also (perhaps less favorably) been called the greatest liberty mankind has ever taken with Mother Nature. Both of those descriptors are at odds today; due to climate change, the Canal is drying up and fewer than half of the ships that used to pass through are now able to do so. So how did we get here? Today on the show, we're talking to Cristina Henriquez, the author of a new novel that explores the making of the Canal. It took 50,000 people from 90 different countries to carve the land in two — and the consequences of that extraordinary, nature-defying act are still echoing through our present.

This episode was hosted by Gene Demby and B.A. Parker, produced by Christina Cala, and edited by Leah Donnella.

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