David Haward Bain's superb narrative of westward rail history, weighing in at 800 pages, ends not with this great achievement but with the political and financial scandal that would almost overshadow it. Along the way Bain looks closely at the entrepreneurial men who foresaw the possibilities of a vast nation joined by a steel ribbon--most memorably the hit-and-miss businessman Asa Whitney, who proposed to Congress an ingenious scheme to fund the building of the railroad through commercializing the right of way. Some of the men who came after Whitney, such as Mark Hopkins, Collis Huntington, and Leland Stanford, amassed great fortunes in realizing this dream. Others died penniless and nearly forgotten in the wake of political maneuverings and bad deals. Bain's vigorous, well-written narrative does much to restore those overlooked actors to history. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
It is more than obvious in reading "Empire Express" that there was a great deal of time involved in research.
The story of the building of the transcontinental railroad is far more than the story of Irish and Chinese laborers moving toward an unknown meeting point in the west.
Simply put, this book is a real chore to read with WAY too many details of minutiae that often really doesn't directly pertain to the main storyline.
As some of the reviews have stated this book has a lot of detail and NOT a lot of maps to help you keep on top of areas that are described. Read morePublished 1 month ago by "socal" kwsw
Great book to read to learn about corporate manipulation of government monies. Tough to "follow the money" sometimes but a great overview of a project of national... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Michael Flicinski
A comprehensive and fascinating history of an important segment of western expansion in the 19th C.Published 6 months ago by jean burn
This is a huge book and I'm wading through it as we speak. I'm a few hundred pages into it and still fascinated. Writing is crisp and even humorous in a sly way. Read morePublished 6 months ago by M. Alexander
This book is very well researched in great detail. Bain does a great job covering the background of the people involved in building the railroad. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Brad Noble
I hate to fault a book when an author clearly worked so hard. First of all I am a published author so I appreciate the effort this took. Read morePublished 12 months ago by W. Patrick Sullivan
The author does a great job of describing the politicking and financial shenanigans that led to the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. Read morePublished 12 months ago by StarStuff