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Building a transcontinental railroad, writes the prolific historian Stephen Ambrose, was second only to the abolition of slavery on Lincoln's presidential agenda. Through an ambitious program of land grants and low-interest government loans, he encouraged entrepreneurs such as California's "Big Four"--Charles Crocker, Collis Huntington, Mark Hopkins, and Leland Stanford--to take on the task of stringing steel rails from ocean to ocean. The real work of doing so, of course, was on the shoulders of immigrant men and women, mostly Chinese and Irish. These often-overlooked actors and what a contemporary called their "dreadful vitality" figure prominently in Ambrose's narrative, alongside the great financiers and surveyors who populate the standard textbooks.
In the end, Ambrose writes, Lincoln's dream transformed the nation, marking "the first great triumph over time and space" and inaugurating what has come to be known as the American Century. David Haward Bain's Empire Express, which covers the same ground, is more substantial, but Ambrose provides an eminently readable study of a complex episode in American history. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The few men who believed in the promise of the transcontinental railroad when most thought it an impossibility - those that followed in their footsteps and made it a reality! Read morePublished 3 days ago by Philip Anderson
Ive read the reviews and must comment. I read this book and afterwards I donated it to our library. I regretted it and may buy again, its in my cart. Read morePublished 6 days ago by CWV
I usually love Stephen Ambrose's books, but this seemed to drag on more than most. I was reading it on a Kindle so I am not sure if a hardcopy would have had better maps,... Read morePublished 15 days ago by Common Sense
An awesome, well written book about the great American railroad. Must now take the train from Council Bluffs, IA to Sacramento, CA.Published 19 days ago by Amazon Customer
Great book that covers the sacrifice and courage of the many men who built the transcontinental railroad.Published 27 days ago by jacob davis
it talked about all the political Bologna it went on even back in those days. I wanted to read about the men who did the actual work but I got to board with all the other garbage... Read morePublished 1 month ago by william smith
I was very impressed by the condition of the book. It exceeded what I was expected.Published 1 month ago by NAOMI
Good story about an amazing fete in American history. The scope of what took place was huge and put the USA at the lead of the world's countries in the late 19th century. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Gerald A. Curtin