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America's Worst Train Disaster Hardcover – September 1, 1998

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Abique Inc (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1892298120
  • ISBN-13: 978-1892298126
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,849,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"America's Worst Train Disaster may be about a terrible event back in 1910, but it makes wonderful reading for lovers of steam railroads. It tells of the business pressures driving decisions, decisions that ultimately resulted in over 96 deaths when an avalanche swept a mail and a passenger train down a deep gorge in Washington. According to the author, the trains were trapped in a snowstorm because the railroad undergoing evaluation for a mail contract. Besides that, the railroad also failed to move the trains to a siding which would have saved them from the avalanche.

You will find a lot of description of railroad equipment. For example, ever hear of an articulated engine?- one that had a pivot to let it bend in the middle on sharp curves. Of course, there is considerable discussion of equipment and techniques of snow removal. Perhaps you have forgotten that not only passenger trains carried conductors, and the size of snow shoveling crews will amaze you. The book also contains news stories about the trapped trains, the disaster and even good quality photos taken during recovery operations by a newspaper photographer covering the sensational accident.

The book contains a view of politics in the days when railroads had the power to mold laws to their liking. Moody obviously feels some of the animosity most people felt toward railroad tycoons. He particularly takes James J. Hill, the founder of the Great Northern Railway to task and suggests that Hill that arranged for the death count to be misstated on the low side.

Moody lets no one off the hook in his discussion of the tragedy. He details wild stories newspaper reporters made up about the accident scene in an attempt to stimulate circulation. He tells of social biases against immigrants and uncomplimentary names used to describe foreign workers - not in private conversations but in newspaper columns too.

The book does contain typos and errors that may distract the reader, but all in all, Moody did a good job. If railroads are your thing, this book belongs in your collection. -- True Rail Stories

From the Publisher

Lots of books cross my desk, but this had a deep affect on me. While reading it, I felt immersed in the 1910 era - and now I have a new concept of what life back then involved. I not only learned about railroads, but also how the people thought about railroads, immigrants, other races. I found that many of the things we struggle with now, those folks also had to struggle with. If you'd like to get the feel of the times, learn about railroading, or just have an enjoyable read, I recommend this book.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I personally enjoyed the book. It was an interesting look at a piece of American history often overlooked. It may be a little rough around the edges but it was very informative. As to Amy Scott's comments; "It is a man with little imagination that writes a book about historical events that no one cares about." I do find it hard to believe that no one cares about an accident that took the lives of almost 100 people. What might a 'bitter little woman' like that recommend as more acceptable? Does her emphasis on the lack of imagination of the author hint at a desire for him to make stuff up? While Amy may be happier sticking with her Dr. Suess books I'll be looking forward to see how the next one comes out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Blake Griffin on October 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book, and it reflects on the author (which i know personally) in a positive sence. This book, although a little dry in some parts is a great purchase!!!!!
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Format: Hardcover
I was sorry to hear of Don Moody's death in March 2010 just days after the centennial of the event he wrote about, the Wellington train disaster of March 1, 1910 at the summit of Stevens Pass in the Cascades of Washington State. He himself went through personal family tragedy young in life. I knew him through high school, and in high school shared the Sousaphone section of band with him.

I recently read his 1998 book, having been able to borrow it through the inter-library loan system for a dollar. It was well researched and put together in an easy flow for reading. As I was from the Leavenworth WA area, it held further interest for me.

Unfortunately the publisher's proofreader did not do a good job before publication, so it appears something like a rough draft at times.

I recommend this. It is a significant piece of americana from a state that was only 21 years old and a year that my grandparents, my dad (he was four years old) and siblings relocated from Kansas to the Puyallup WA area.
Delbert Rankin
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