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Rock Island Requiem: The Collapse of a Mighty Fine Line

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Rock Island Requiem: The Collapse of a Mighty Fine Line Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Celebrated in history and song, the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Company—the Rock Island Line—was a powerful Midwestern railroad that once traversed thirteen states with its fast freights and Rocket passenger trains but eventually succumbed to government regulation and a changing economy. Gregory Schneider chronicles the Rock Island's painful decline and along the way reveals some of the key problems within the American railroad industry during the post-World War II era.

Schneider takes readers back to a time when railroads still clung to a storied past to offer new insight into the devastating impact of economic policymaking during the 1960s and 1970s. Schneider recounts the largest railroad liquidation in American history—as well as one of the most successful reorganizations in American business—to depict the demise and ultimate collapse of Rock Island as part of a broader account of hard times in the railroad industry beginning in the 1970s.

Schneider weaves a complex story of how business, politics, government bureaucracy, and individual greed helped to limit the economic possibilities of the railroad industry and catapult the Rock Island Railroad into oblivion. Weakened by a troubled economy, the Rock fell victim to inept management and labor union intransigence; but Schneider also reveals how government regulations and price controls prevented innovation, hindered capital acquisition, and favored other forms of transportation that lie beyond the scope of regulation. Railroads were even hurt by taxation of property and real estate while competitors were able to use government-subsidized highways and airports without having to pay taxes to fund them.

Now that America has gone on to witness the collapse of such mammoth firms as Enron and Lehman Brothers, not to mention the bankruptcy and bailout of General Motors, the story of the Rock provides an instructive lesson in how a major American enterprise was allowed to fall victim to forces often beyond its control—while the bailout of the Penn Central, at the expense of smaller lines like Rock Island, helped initiate the era of "too big to fail."

For economic historians and railroad buffs alike, Rock Island Requiem is a well-researched and informative work—and a mighty good read.

Synopsis:

Chronicles the unraveling and demise of the mighty Rock Island Railroad—the largest railroad liquidation in American history. Victim of government regulation, inept management, individual greed, and self-interest, its downfall presents in microcosm the story of the railroad industry's larger problems in postwar America—and in relief, the story of America's economic failures in the 1960s and 1970s.

About the Author

Gregory L. Schneider is a professor of history at Emporia State University and the author, most recently, of The Conservative Century: From Reaction to Revolution.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

List of Illustrations

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations

Introduction

Act One: Merger

1. A Mighty Fine Line

2. Merge or Die

3. Bleak House

4. The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

5. Too Big to Fail

Act Two: Bankruptcy

6. Bankruptcy Blue(s)

7. Stayin' Alive

8. The Omen

9. Walking Dead Men

10. The Rock Is Dead

Act Three: Liquidation

11. Too Late the Hero

12. Long Live the Rock

Conclusion

Notes

Selected Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780700619184
Author:
Schneider, Gregory L.
Publisher:
University Press of Kansas
Subject:
Railroads - History
Subject:
Railroads - General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20130931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
26
Pages:
392
Dimensions:
9.5 x 6.25 in

Related Subjects

» Business » History and Biographies
» History and Social Science » Economics » General
» History and Social Science » Politics » General
» History and Social Science » World History » General
» Transportation » Railroads » General

Rock Island Requiem: The Collapse of a Mighty Fine Line New Hardcover
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Product details 392 pages University Press of Kansas - English 9780700619184 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Chronicles the unraveling and demise of the mighty Rock Island Railroad—the largest railroad liquidation in American history. Victim of government regulation, inept management, individual greed, and self-interest, its downfall presents in microcosm the story of the railroad industry's larger problems in postwar America—and in relief, the story of America's economic failures in the 1960s and 1970s.

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