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Original Essays | September 4, 2014

Edward E. Baptist: IMG The Two Bodies of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism



My new book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, is the story of two bodies. The first body was the new... Continue »
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The Great American Railroad War: How Ambrose Bierce and Frank Norris Took on the Notorious Central Pacific Railroad

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The Great American Railroad War: How Ambrose Bierce and Frank Norris Took on the Notorious Central Pacific Railroad Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

How two of Americas greatest authors took on the Central Railroad monopoly
 
 
The notorious Central Pacific Railroad riveted the attention of two great American writers: Ambrose Bierce and Frank Norris. In The Great American Railroad War, Dennis Drabelle tells a classic story of corporate greed vs. the power of the pen. The Central Pacific Railroad accepted US Government loans; but, when the loans fell due, the last surviving founder of the railroad avoided repayment. Bierce, at the behest of his boss William Randolph Hearst, swung into action writing over sixty stinging articles that became a signal achievement in American journalism. Later, Norris focused the first volume of his trilogy, The Octopus, on the freight cars of a thinly disguised version of the Central Pacific. The Great American Railroad War is a lively chapter of US history pitting two of Americas greatest writers against one of A mericas most powerful corporations.

Review:

"Drabelle (Mile High Fever), the Washington Post Book World's mysteries editor and an NBCC Award — winning critic, celebrates 'a free press and writers eager to give the rich and powerful hell' in his telling of the Central Pacific's attempts to avoid repaying U.S. government bonds. In 1896, William Randolph Hearst sent Ambrose Bierce to report on Congress's deliberations on a railroad funding bill. Seeing the bribe money distributed by the railroad's lobbyists, Bierce marshaled public opinion against the bill. A decade later, novelist Frank Norris skewered the railroad in his acclaimed novel The Octopus. Drabelle delivers sufficient details on the shenanigans involved in building the railroads to support his antimonopoly slant, plus enough digressions to create a sense of immersion into the literary culture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Abolitionist and famed preacher Henry Ward Beecher, novelist Stephen Crane, movie director Erich von Stroheim, and sundry politicians make cameo appearances to good effect. Drabelle links the Progressive anticorruption reforms — ballot initiatives, public referendums, and recalls of elected officials — to present-day political stalemates. Readers with interests in western American history or the origins of today's political quagmires will find much to relish. Agent: Mitchell Waters, Curtis Brown." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

DENNIS DRABELLE is author of Mile-High Fever. He has written for multiple publications and is currently a contributing editor and a mysteries editor for The Washington Post Book World. In 1996 he won the National Book Critics Circles award for excellence in reviewing. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312667597
Author:
Drabelle, Dennis
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
US History-General
Subject:
Railroads - History
Subject:
US History-19th Century
Publication Date:
20120831
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Plus one 8-page bandw photo insert
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.125 in

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Related Subjects

Business » History and Biographies
History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » Journalism » Reference
History and Social Science » US History » 19th Century
History and Social Science » US History » General
Transportation » Railroads » General
Transportation » Railroads » North America

The Great American Railroad War: How Ambrose Bierce and Frank Norris Took on the Notorious Central Pacific Railroad Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$18.50 In Stock
Product details 320 pages St. Martin's Press - English 9780312667597 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Drabelle (Mile High Fever), the Washington Post Book World's mysteries editor and an NBCC Award — winning critic, celebrates 'a free press and writers eager to give the rich and powerful hell' in his telling of the Central Pacific's attempts to avoid repaying U.S. government bonds. In 1896, William Randolph Hearst sent Ambrose Bierce to report on Congress's deliberations on a railroad funding bill. Seeing the bribe money distributed by the railroad's lobbyists, Bierce marshaled public opinion against the bill. A decade later, novelist Frank Norris skewered the railroad in his acclaimed novel The Octopus. Drabelle delivers sufficient details on the shenanigans involved in building the railroads to support his antimonopoly slant, plus enough digressions to create a sense of immersion into the literary culture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Abolitionist and famed preacher Henry Ward Beecher, novelist Stephen Crane, movie director Erich von Stroheim, and sundry politicians make cameo appearances to good effect. Drabelle links the Progressive anticorruption reforms — ballot initiatives, public referendums, and recalls of elected officials — to present-day political stalemates. Readers with interests in western American history or the origins of today's political quagmires will find much to relish. Agent: Mitchell Waters, Curtis Brown." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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