The French diplomat and engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps (1805-1894) was instrumental in the successful completion of the Suez Canal, which reduced by 3000 miles the distance by sea between Bombay and London. This two-volume memoir, written towards the ...
end of his life and dedicated to his children, was published in this English translation in 1887. In it, de Lesseps describes his experiences in Europe and North Africa. He includes reflections on European and colonial history and politics, an essay on steam power, and a report on the 1879 Paris conference that led to a controversial and abortive early attempt by a French company to build the Panama Canal. Volume 2 focuses on the Suez project, quoting extensively from de Lesseps' correspondence, and also contains facts and figures relating to the 'interoceanic canal', political essays, and the speeches for his inauguration into the Academie francaise.