In this account of an unprecedented feat of engineering, vision, and courage, Stephen E. Ambrose offers a historical successor to his universally acclaimed "Undaunted Courage, " which recounted the explorations of the West by Lewis and Clark.
"Nothing Like It in the World" is the story of the men who built the transcontinental railroad -- the investors who risked their businesses and money; the enlightened politicians who understood its importance; the engineers and surveyors who risked, and lost, their lives; and the Irish and Chinese immigrants, the defeated Confederate soldiers, and the other laborers who did the backbreaking and dangerous work on the tracks.
The Union had won the Civil War and slavery had been abolished, but Abraham Lincoln, who was an early and constant champion of railroads, would not live to see the great achievement. In Ambrose's hands, this enterprise, with its huge expenditure of brainpower, muscle, and sweat, comes to life.
The U.S. government pitted two companies -- the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific Railroads -- against each other in a race for funding, encouraging speed over caution. Locomo-tives, rails, and spikes were shipped from the East through Panama or around South America to the West or lugged across the country to the Plains. This was the last great building project to be done mostly by hand: excavating dirt, cutting through ridges, filling gorges, blasting tunnels through mountains.
At its peak, the workforce -- primarily Chinese on the Central Pacific, Irish on the Union Pacific -- approached the size of Civil War armies, with as many as fifteen thousand workers on each line. The Union Pacific was led by Thomas "Doc" Durant, Oakes Ames, and Oliver Ames, with Grenville Dodge -- America's greatest railroad builder -- as chief engineer. The Central Pacific was led by California's "Big Four": Leland Stanford, Collis Huntington, Charles Crocker, and Mark Hopkins. The surveyors, the men who picked the route, were latter-day Lewis and Clark types who led the way through the wilderness, living off buffalo, deer, elk, and antelope.
In building a railroad, there is only one decisive spot -- the end of the track. Nothing like this great work had been seen in the world when the last spike, a golden one, was driven in at Promontory Summit, Utah, in 1869, as the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific tracks were joined.
Ambrose writes with power and eloquence about the brave men -- the famous and the unheralded, ordinary men doing the extraordinary -- who accomplished the spectacular feat that made the continent into a nation.
Between 1870 and 1950, America's railroads produced a body of poster work significant both for the artists involved and for the range of images created. The railroads used this visual medium from their founding, first in the form of broadsides, dominated by text and intended to convey practical information, and then, during the 1890s, as vivid lithographed display posters. For the next 50 years, American railroads commissioned posters designed to spur the popular imagination and thereby encourage travel. Images of compelling intensity included Maurice Logan's icons of the 1920s overland limiteds passing in the West; Adolph Treidler's wonder cities; Santa Fe's Native Americans; and Leslie Ragan's and Sascha Maurer's machine-age steamliners.Although a great deal has been written about European railway and travel posters, their American counterparts remained in the shadows. Travel by Train focuses on the artists, railroad men, and advertising agencies that created and produced the work. It presents the posters in the context of the historical trends and competitive strategies that shaped the development of the railroad industry. The book also follows the development of the advertising business and graphic design in the U.S. and Europe. It features approximately 160 poster images (many in color), personal photographs, and sketches, many of them never before published.
The epic story of the struggle to connect New York City to the rest of the nation
The demolition of Penn Station in 1963 destroyed not just a soaring neoclassical edifice, but also a building that commemorated one of the last century's great engineering feats?the construction of railroad tunnels into New York City. Now, in this gripping narrative, Jill Jonnes tells this fascinating story?a high-stakes drama that pitted the money and will of the nation's mightiest railroad against the corruption of Tammany Hall, the unruly forces of nature, and the machinations of labor agitators. In 1901, the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Alexander Cassatt, determined that it was technically feasible to build a system of tunnels connecting Manhattan to New Jersey and Long Island. Confronted by payoff-hungry politicians, brutal underground working conditions, and disastrous blowouts and explosions, it would take him nearly a decade to make Penn Station and its tunnels a reality. Set against the bustling backdrop of Gilded Age New York, "Conquering Gotham" will enthrall fans of David McCullough's "The Great Bridge" and Ron Chernow's "Titan."
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD In this groundbreaking biography, T.J. Stiles tells the dramatic story of Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt, the combative man and American icon who, through his genius and force of will, did more than perhaps any other individual to create modern capitalism. Meticulously researched and elegantly written, The First Tycoon describes an improbable life, from Vanderbilt's humble birth during the presidency of George Washington to his death as one of the richest men in American history. In between we see how the Commodore helped to launch the transportation revolution, propel the Gold Rush, reshape Manhattan, and invent the modern corporation. Epic in its scope and success, the life of Vanderbilt is also the story of the rise of America itself.
More than a century before airlines placed it at the center of their systems, Chicago was already the nation's transportation hub -from Union Station, passengers could reach major cities on the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts as well as countless points in between.
Chicago's history is tightly linked to its railroads. Railroad historian Fred Ash begins in the mid 1800's, when Chicago dominated Midwest trade and was referred to as the Railroad Capital of the World. During this period, swings in the political climate significantly modified the relationship between the local government and its largest landholders, the railroads. From here, Ash highlights competition at the turn of the twentieth century between railroad companies that greatly influenced Chicago's urban landscape. Profiling the fascinating stories of businessmen, politicians, workers, and immigrants whose everyday lives were affected by the bustling transportation hub, Ash documents the impact Union Station had on the growing city and the entire Midwest.
Featuring more than 100 photographs of the famous beaux art architecture, Chicago Union Station is a beautifully illustrated tribute to one of America's overlooked treasures.
Describes the author's life as a young hobo, riding the rails across America as he embarked on a deeply personal odyssey of self-discovery and freedom, and recalls some of the fascinating characters he encountered along the way. Reprint.
James J. Hill (1838-1916), the Empire Builder, created a vast railroad network across the northwestern United States. In this splendid biography, Martin, the first researcher to have access to Hill's voluminous correspondence, richly portrays a man of many parts: an entrepreneur, a family man, a collector of notable French paintings, a promoter of scientific agriculture, and a booster for the Northwest.
Acclaimed travel writer Anthony Lambert presents his selection of train journeys with real character, sublime scenery, a sense of history, a well-appointed train, or even the opportunity to enjoy a meal with proper napery, silver and glass...Some journeys are well known, such as the Glacier or Orient Expresses, which combine glamour, outstanding cuisine and service and colorful history. Others less so: The Sunset Limited traverses through the quintessential Wild West country of New Mexico; or the coast-to-coast journey through the chestnut- and pine-clad mountains of Corsica, crossing one of Gustave Eiffel's glorious viaducts of gossamer steel. From the modest line of the Alaska Railroad to the Trans-Siberian; from a narrow-gauge web of lines in the Harz Mountains to the train that crosses Australia's barren Nullarbor Plain in a dead-straight 478km, Lambert's is an unmissable selection for any lover of travel that is as delightful as the destination.