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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.
Ambrose seems to throw as much filler in the book as he can.
Historian Stephen Ambrose provides a nicely readable look at one of the greatest engineering feats of all time - building the U.S. transcontinental railroad.
Once again his exhaustive research and writing style have combined to produce a very interesting and readable book!
Really enjoyed the book. A bit hard to keep track of everything going on and keep all the progress in order. I bought the hardback version. Read morePublished 11 days ago by "socal" kwsw
As a transportation engineering, I found the book to be very informative.
It took me far beyond the well-known Chinese labor elements into the political intrigue and social... Read more
Very well written and the facts are stunning. I studied this subject at school but I had forgotten a lot and not known a lot. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Steph
I started this book as soon as it arrived and am enjoying it as I have other Stephen Ambrose books. Ambroses' books are very interesting and entertaining!Published 1 month ago by Charles Whitlock
Ambrose is great, and this is an epic story. It gets a little tedious at times, but I imagine so was building the railroad. Read morePublished 1 month ago by James Richardson
Tedious read, poor editing (repetitive) and clearly one of Mr. Ambrose's worst, may he rest in peace. If you buy it, don't plan on reading cover to cover. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Demitrios in NC
An excellent factual story of all you don't know about the complicated process involved to complete this railroad line. Read morePublished 1 month ago by cisco
Very interesting read about a great american event. I'm a history buff and this book describes all aspects of building the transcontinental railroad in just enough detail to keep... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dennis E. LaPierre