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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.
Writing this review is not totally necessary as the existing 69 reviews pretty much tell you what to expect. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Bruce
The book as purchased as a gift for a train enthusiast who was into AMC's "Hell on Wheels" series---the building of the first transcontinental railroad. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Bgnortsmra
In trying to explain the United States to a guest from overseas, I gave him a copy of this book and the Ken Burns "Civil War" series. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Norman Crum
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 9 months 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 13 months ago by Michael James
A comprehensive and fascinating history of an important segment of western expansion in the 19th C.Published 13 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 14 months ago by M. Alexander