- Hardcover: 448 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (January 2, 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195038533
- ISBN-13: 978-0195038538
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #967,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Railroads Triumphant: The Growth, Rejection, and Rebirth of a Vital American Force 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Find Rare and Collectible Books
Discover rare, signed and first edition books on AbeBooks, an Amazon Company. Learn More on AbeBooks.com.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
As his title suggests, Martin ( Enterprise Denied ) here writes a highly upbeat history of railroads in the U.S. before driving home a gold spike for their future. Starting in 1828 with the formation of the Baltimore & Ohio, the author sets out to answer what he calls "the Grand Paradox," or why, with all its potential, the railroad fell on such hard times after WW II. Sprinkling anecdotes throughout, Martin details the early years of invention and then, after the Civil War, glory and profit. The railroad created such cities as Chicago and Atlanta, helped to mold management organization and abetted the growth of the telegraph in addition to playing a key role in the development of the steel and coal industries. Last century's Credit Mobilier scandal pales, in Martin's eyes, beside today's villains--politics, over-regulation and greedy unions. For history buffs, this long ride is essential, if inconclusive. Photos not seen by PW. History Book Club main selection.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Railroads were America's first big business, setting patterns of organization, management, finance, and technology that have been followed by most other businesses for 150 years. Martin's business history covers the railroads' rise to power in the 19th century, their decline for most of the 20th, and what he sees as their return to glory in the last decade; he regards government regulation as the chief villain and deregulation as the railroads' salvation. A synthesis (the bibliography lists mostly secondary sources), the work is mildly but not controversially revisionist. Its topical rather than chronological organization is effective but does lead to some repetition. It belongs in most business history collections. History Book Club main selection.
- Paul B. Cors, Univ. of Wyoming Lib., Laramie
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
I'll start with the right reasons. It is full of awesome stories, awesome individuals, and awesomely strong, awesomely informed, and sometimes awesomely wrong opinions. As a "bespectacled economist" (at least he calls us neither "fatuous" nor "flatulent," which are among his awesome collection of strong-smelling words), I feel Professor Martin would have done well to understand the full implications of the monopoly model.
That is not, of course, at all entirely on him. My fellows of the four-eyed tribe have not, in general, used the basic model to anywhere near its full utility.
Speaking of "utility," I sought in vain for any reason for the provocative subtitle, "Railroads---Not Quite a Utility."
Leave aside the horrors of the "utility" terminology, which is as standard in our profession, and as stupid, as the QWERTY keyboard, and as irreversible as the somewhat random chances that gave us "standard gauge" (if deciding now, we would optimize on a broader track for greater speed and lower running cost). "Utility" is the concept at the core of demand theory. A "Utility Company" is one of a number of enterprises that deliver value to complex benefit structures ("many stakeholders"), typically including a broad set of real-estate holders. Put sewers, water pipes, and wires on the land, and the land is a lot more valuable. And then there are the direct customers, the businesses and the households that buy the water and deliver the poo. "Shared-benefit enterprise" is the descriptive term, which an uncaring world has so far declined to adopt.
Professor Martin's detailed description of the life and death of the railroad reveals that it is, in fact, the first great large-scale natural-monopoly shared-benefit enterprise ("utility," in the deprecated terminology), with all the enormous and varied challenges and potentials of the situation.
And if Professor Martin had understood that, and put on some spectacles and studied just a tad of imperfect-competition economics, and thought about the political economy of locational monopoly, he would have understood that his preferred prescription, to let Vanderbilt and Huntington and Gould and the grifter Dupont and the others run a perfectly differentiating monopoly to extract all the rents, which because they were civic minded and just wanted to enrich the nation they would do... is laughable.
But you gotta read the book for other reasons. The old gentleman was allowed to rant freely in the parentheticals without the constraints of an annoying editor. I wish I were he. How did he get that freedom from Oxford University Press? I am going to reread the book sometime, just to count the variations on "Hey you kids get offa my lawn."
Alas, no bibliography to back up all of the fascinating anecdotes.
My kids used to call me Google Papa, since I had an answer for everything. With age and experience they learned I was more a Wiki-Papa: Completely useless for citations. This book is like that. Too bad.
The book "Railroads Triumphant" by Albro Martin was a revelation to this reader. The subtitle of this book is "The Growth, Rejection & Rebirth of a Vital American Force". I was quite amazed by the fascinating history of railroads in the U.S. As the author makes very clear prior to, say, 1945, if you wanted to go somewhere, see something interesting, visit someone distant, conduct business, deliver or obtain goods your only true option was rail travel. The fact that this means of transportation was relatively inexpensive, reasonable safe and went practically everywhere did not happen by serendipity and that is the story related in this book.
I want to make one thing clear to individuals considering reading this book. The author's focus is on the 'business" of railroad history written from an academic perspective. At times I found myself skimming over pages I found uninteresting. Nonetheless there is sufficient information on the topic of railroads that the curious adult reader will find this book worth reading.