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Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad, 1863-1869

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Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad, 1863-1869 Cover

ISBN13: 9780684846095
ISBN10: 0684846098
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Synopsis:

In this account of an unprecedented feat of engineering, vision, and courage, Ambrose offers a historical successor to his universally acclaimed "Undaunted Courage". This is the epic drama of the daring men who connected an open, vast, and dangerous land by rail, forging its continental nationhood. of photos.

Synopsis:

The Union had won the Civil War and slavery had been abolished. Abraham Lincoln, however, would not live to see the next great achievement of the American people-the building of the transcontinental railroad. This fascinating book opens with Lincoln, who had championed the building of railroads as a young lawyer, and ends with the golden stake as the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific are linked in 1869. It is the story of the men who made this dream a reality — businessmen who risked their money, engineers and surveyors who risked (and lost) their lives, and common men — Chinese, Irish, defeated Southerners — who did the dangerous and backbreaking work on the tracks that joined the continent as a nation.<P>In Stephen Ambrose's hands, the Railroad's tale is a truly riveting, truly American tale.

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. 407-411) and index.

About the Author

Stephen E. Ambrose is the author of Citizen Soldiers, Undaunted Courage, and D-Day, as well as biographies of Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon. He is founder of the Eisenhower Center and president of the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans. He lives in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and Helena, Montana.

Table of Contents

  1. ch. 1.Picking the route 1830-1860
  2. ch. 2.Getting to California 1848-1859
  3. ch. 3.Birth of the Central Pacific 1860-1862
  4. ch. 4.Birth of the Union Pacific 1862-1864
  5. ch. 5.Judah and the elephant 1862-1864
  6. ch. 6.Laying out the Union Pacific line 1864-1865
  7. ch. 7.Central Pacific attacks the Sierra Nevada 1865
  8. ch. 8.Union Pacific across Nebraska 1866
  9. ch. 9.Central Pacific assaults the Sierra 1866
  10. ch. 10.Union Pacific to the Rocky Mountains 1867
  11. ch. 11.Central Pacific penetrates the summit 1867
  12. ch. 12.Union Pacific across Wyoming 1868
  13. ch. 13.Brigham Young and the Mormons make the grade 1868
  14. ch. 14.Central Pacific goes through Nevada 1868
  15. ch. 15.Railroads race into Utah January 1-April 10, 1869
  16. ch. 16.To the summit April 11-May 7, 1869
  17. Done May 8-10, 1869.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Paul McFarland, August 6, 2007 (view all comments by Paul McFarland)
Stephen Ambrose, that prince of storytellers, views the building of the transcontinental railroad. The great race between Union Pacific and the Central Pacific railroads frames this account of the people who built this great link across the continent. From the politicians to the men who used the hammers both the sweep and the detail are covered in this fine book.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780684846095
Author:
Ambrose, Stephen E.
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Location:
London
Subject:
History
Subject:
United states
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
United States - 19th Century/Old West
Subject:
Railroads
Subject:
United States - Reconstruction Period (1865-1877)
Subject:
Railroads - History
Subject:
Railroad construction workers
Subject:
Railroads -- United States -- History.
Subject:
Central Pacific Railroad Company - History
Subject:
Railroads - General
Copyright:
Series Volume:
no. 85
Publication Date:
20000831
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.12 in 25.865 oz

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » History and Social Science
History and Social Science » Americana » General
History and Social Science » US History » 19th Century
Reference » Etiquette
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » Technology
Transportation » Railroads » General
Transportation » Railroads » North America

Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad, 1863-1869 Used Hardcover
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Product details 432 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9780684846095 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In this account of an unprecedented feat of engineering, vision, and courage, Ambrose offers a historical successor to his universally acclaimed "Undaunted Courage". This is the epic drama of the daring men who connected an open, vast, and dangerous land by rail, forging its continental nationhood. of photos.
"Synopsis" by , The Union had won the Civil War and slavery had been abolished. Abraham Lincoln, however, would not live to see the next great achievement of the American people-the building of the transcontinental railroad. This fascinating book opens with Lincoln, who had championed the building of railroads as a young lawyer, and ends with the golden stake as the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific are linked in 1869. It is the story of the men who made this dream a reality — businessmen who risked their money, engineers and surveyors who risked (and lost) their lives, and common men — Chinese, Irish, defeated Southerners — who did the dangerous and backbreaking work on the tracks that joined the continent as a nation.<P>In Stephen Ambrose's hands, the Railroad's tale is a truly riveting, truly American tale.
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