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Blood on the Tracks (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Cecelia Holland
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $0.99
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  • Length: 79 pages (estimated)
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Book Description

The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 wrenched American history onto a new course. Focussing on events in Baltimore and Pittsburgh, this essay brings this dramatic and bloody confrontation to life, as ordinary people, driven to the wall by oppression, rose against their masters. This was the opening act in long years of savage struggle for the rights of labor that continue to this day.

Editorial Reviews Review

Twelve years after the Civil War ended, while the U.S. was deep in a depression, the owners of the four largest railroads met in New York and agreed to cut their workers’ salaries by 10 percent. Blood on the Tracks immerses readers in the physically and emotionally charged struggle that soon followed--the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. Cecelia Holland, a prolific writer of historical novels, turns this forgotten chapter of history into an impossibly interesting study of gritty American life before big government, unions, or business regulation. Holland’s vivid descriptions bring to life the seething anger of the mobs and their battles to control the lines. She renders the chaos of the strike in individual vignettes of drunkards, angry workers, curious onlookers, sheriffs disabused of power, militiamen who put down their arms to join the resistance, and men cajoled by the railroad bosses to take up arms against the crowd. The piece ends with a witty yet stern rebuke of Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, which used the story of a fictional rail line to champion a belief that profit is the best motivator (and Laissez-faire the best economic climate) for humanity. --Paul Diamond

Product Details

  • File Size: 170 KB
  • Print Length: 79 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0056B0P8U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,464 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
131 of 135 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like a runaway train... June 25, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The narrative builds pace like a locomotive that's lost its breaks and is careening downhill. It's a good, quick and satisfying read.

This is historical writing at its finest. Not only does it bring to life the questionable election of Rutherford B. Hays and post-Civil War militias, but also the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. It highlights an oft-forgotten part of American history. Never mind the romance of the train, if you've ever wondered why railroads were hated by many a hundred years ago, and, as a consequence why many other countries have more-developed rail systems than the United States, here's a good part of your answer.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
By Terri B
Format:Kindle Edition
This talented author of many historical novels, turns her skills in research, and her wonderful ability to bring events to life, reporting about a little known event in the history of our nation. This is a brief, thoughtful and detailed account of a conflict that happened in 1877, when big business acted with arrogance and total disregard for the people who worked for them. An important history lesson.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent account June 22, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
A well written account of this event in our history. Both entertaining and informative. What a shame more of us don`t realize how much we owe to those common folk who struggled before us to create the middle-class America that has been fast slipping away from us in recent years.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Historical Writing. July 2, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This short history of the "great upheaval" of 1877 describes in some detail the spontaneous public uprising against the managers of America's largest railroad companies of the era, when they instituted system-wide pay cuts of 10% at a time when working-class Americans were barely eking out a living. This was a time, much like today, when the differences in compensation between those who worked for large, powerful corporations (in this case the railroads) and those who owned the companies was enormous. It was a time when many were out of work, and those that had jobs were barely surviving. Though the highly profitable railroad companies easily could have kept the pay level of their workers steady, they chose to further impoverish their workers by cutting pay another 10%. This short history effectively captures the flavor of the uprising, which was completely unorganized and spontaneous across the northeastern part of the country.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On the right track.... July 8, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I am quickly becoming a fan of Kindle singles. This true story of the early years of the railroads and the money men who ran them is fascinating. The story of this tragic event is something I had never heard about before this reading. Its parallel to today's events involving our own battles with the greedy money men of Wall Street, the big banks, and industry show that the lessons of history are largely ignored. Sadly, we see that those who suffer and lose the most are least able to recover their losses and the Barons of greed, for the most part, go unpunished. A sad comment on our society.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real Atlas shrugged July 1, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
America's finest author of historical Fiction (The Great Maria, The Firedrake, The Secret Eleanor) turns her prodigious talents to historical Fact. In prose as clear as creek water, nailing a narrative voice both sympathetic and judicious, with humor and passion, she tells the true story the history books leave out: of the great railroad strike of 1877, when "ordinary" men and women rose in anger against a system stacked in favor of the rich and powerful and stopped the trains. It's all here--the defiance, the tragedy, the roguery and lucky breaks, the players on both sides in all their greed and grit and glory. This was a time, little remembered and unfortunately rarely repeated, when as Holland puts it, "the real Atlas shrugged." Read it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History is going to repeat August 2, 2011
By Dale
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Being from Pa. and knowing the locations mentioned in this book made it extra interesting to me.
On the other hand I'm afraid this type of violence is going to happen again if the poor and middle classes continue to get taken avantage of by the rich and their lobbiest who influence our congressman.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative, entertaining, short, but with a flaw July 18, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loaded this book just before vacation, even though I never have time to read on vacation. I was enticed by the reviewer's promise that it would explain why our railroad system is in demise, compared with other first-world countries. It did much more than that. U.S. history is better told using the narrative format, and this book is no exception. Even the physical descriptions of the main players added to my comprehension of the situation. Download this book if you love to learn and enjoy a good story, then bring it to the present day. I only wish the author had let her readers think things through on their own. Her ending comments did not add to the narrative. And by the way, I read this in one day, just slipping it out of my purse during dead times. It really is short!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars And??!!
Good book. Wanted to know the outcome of some of the railroad executives if they changed their attitudes afterwards towards their people.
Published 1 month ago by Joseph
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and Topical
A very enjoyable read about an important event that is sadly again necessary.
Published 4 months ago by William D. Burton
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent storytelling
I thoroughly enjoyed this rousing storytelling of the triumph, in many regards, of the American worker.

I absolutely recommend this book.
Published 9 months ago by Nicholas Stephanus
4.0 out of 5 stars Here's a reminder of the price that was paid
Labor unions are derided today as obsolete at best and counterproductive at worst. Maybe, but there was a time when workers were fighting for basic dignity and paying dearly with... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Allen
1.0 out of 5 stars one sided
Makes me worry about what was left out. It nice to not shoot women, but when they are at the front fighting you all bets are out the window. Read more
Published 11 months ago by bob s
5.0 out of 5 stars Harbinger of things to come?
This book concisely captures a period in US history that is eerily reminiscent of our present day circumstances. Read more
Published 11 months ago by L. Blake Baldwin
3.0 out of 5 stars I Enjoyed It!
I can't really say that I was AWED by it or anything superlative like that but that's mostly because I'm not all that familiar with the events Ms. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Sean T Phelan
5.0 out of 5 stars Small events in our history not commonly known
The book is about the Railroad shutdown in the 1880's. The author thoroughly researched the events and relayed the details. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Boudreaux
1.0 out of 5 stars not for me
Never did get my interest, even though I gave it a good try. Thought it would have offered more as a piece of historical fiction.
Published 13 months ago by Mike
4.0 out of 5 stars detailed recap
Good recap and analysis of important moment at beginning of labor movement. Well written and dispassionate with good descriptions of places and circumstances.
Published 13 months ago by charlotte Kreutz
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