Summer Reading Sale
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | July 22, 2014

Nick Harkaway: IMG The Florist-Assassins



The three men lit up in my mind's eye, with footnotes. They were converging on me — and on the object I was carrying — in a way that had... Continue »
  1. $18.87 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    Tigerman

    Nick Harkaway 9780385352413

spacer

This item may be
out of stock.

Click on the button below to search for this title in other formats.


Check for Availability
Add to Wishlist

Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad That Crossed an Ocean

by

Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad That Crossed an Ocean Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Last Train to Paradise is acclaimed novelist Les Standiford's fast-paced and gripping true account of the extraordinary construction and spectacular demise of the Key West Railroadone of the greatest engineering feats ever undertaken, destroyed in one fell swoop by the strongest storm ever to hit U.S. shores. In 1904, the brilliant and driven entrepreneur Henry Flagler, partner to John D. Rockefeller and the true mastermind behind Standard Oil, concocted the dream of a railway connecting the island of Key West to the Florida mainland, crossing a staggering 153 miles of open oceanan engineering challenge beyond even that of the Panama Canal. "The financiers considered the project and said, Unthinkable. The engineers pondered the problems and from all came one verdict, Impossible. . . ." But build it they did, and the railroad stood as a magnificent achievement for twenty-two years. Once dismissed as "Flagler's Folly," it was heralded as "the Eighth Wonder of the World"until a will even greater than Flagler's rose up in opposition. In 1935, a hurricane of exceptional force, which would be dubbed "the Storm of the Century," swept through the tiny islands, killing some 700 residents and workmen and washing away all but one sixty-foot section of track, on which a 320,000-pound railroad engine stood and "gripped its rails as if the gravity of Jupiter were pressing upon it." Standiford brings the full force and fury of this storm to terrifying life. In spinning his saga of the railroad's construction, Standiford immerses us in the treacherous world of the thousands of workers who beat their way through infested swamps, lived in fragile tent cities on barges anchored in the midst of daunting stretches of ocean, and suffered from a remarkable succession of three ominous hurricanes that killed many and washed away vast stretches of track. Steadfast through every setback, Flagler inspired a loyalty in his workers so strong that even after a hurricane dislodged one of the railroad's massive pilings, casting doubt over the viability of the entire project, his engineers refused to be beaten. The question was no longer "Could it be done?" but "Can we make it to Key West on time?" to allow Flagler to ride the rails of his dream. Last Train to Paradise celebrates this crowning achievement of Gilded Age ambition, a sweeping tale of the powerful forces of human ingenuity colliding with the even greater forces of nature's wrath.

Review:

"[A] remarkable story....Standiford does an admirable job of keeping the story afloat...and he has an eye for the memorable detail...as well as a weakness for clichés. At the end, he returns readers to his exciting account of the 1935 hurricane that destroyed much of the roadbed and exiled the railroad to history. Engaging, but facile." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Standiford brings his novelist's eye to the true-life drama of the railroad built to link Key West with mainland Florida....A powerful story told by a talented writer..." Library Journal

Review:

"With an eight-page black-and-white photo insert, this book is a remarkable account of one man's dream that ended in disaster." George Cohen, Booklist

Review:

"A good idea to have a novelist tell [this] story....The narrative bumps along, frequently veering off into tantalizing detours that lead nowhere....The book's conclusion references Shelley's cautionary poem 'Ozymandias,' a gloss on the impermanence of man's works. The warning might apply to this unsatisfying book." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"A dramatic story...a good deal of fun..." The Washington Post

Review:

"Last Train to Paradise is an extraordinary achievement, a nonfiction book as exciting and finely written as a first-rate novel, with the narrative drive of a locomotive....Throw in Ernest Hemingway and some of the most dramatic scenes of the chaos of a hurricane ever written and you?ve got one hell of a spectacular book." James Hall, author of Blackwater Sound and Under Cover of Daylight

Synopsis:

Describes the efforts of ambitious entrepreneur Henry Flagler to construct a railway that would connect Key West to the mainland, from the design and engineering of the project to the 1935 hurricane that destroyed the railway.

Synopsis:

Chronicles the rise and fall of the Key West Railroad--which reached from the shores of mainland Florida to the island of Key West--describing its seven-year construction under the watch of entrepreneur Henry Flagler and its destruction by a hurricane in 1935.

About the Author

Les Standiford is the author of eight critically acclaimed novels, including most recently Bone Key, as well as several works of nonfiction. He has received the Frank O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. Since 1981 he has lived in Miami with his wife and three children. They are themselves survivors of Hurricane Andrew.

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix
Map of the Key West Extension xi
1. End of the Line 1
2. The Road to Paradise 17
3. Citizen Flagler 35
4. Paradise Found 45
5. Empire Building 53
6. The City That Flagler Built 63
7. The Stage Is Set 69
8. The Eighth Wonder of the World 77
9. Charting the Territories 85
10. Jumping-Off Point 93
11. A Surprise, the First of Many 113
12. Nature's Fury 117
13. Duly Noted 129
14. On Toward Key West 137
15. The Signature Bridge 143
16. Seven Miles of Hell 153
17. Learning Curve 169
18. Railroad Builder Overboard 179
19. Deep Bay 191
20. Wonder to Behold 201
21. Failed 207
22. Rolling On 215
23. Storm of Storms 225
24. A Fine, Improper Place 255
Acknowledgments 260
Selected Bibliography 262
Index 265

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400051182
Subtitle:
Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad That Crossed an Ocean
Publisher:
Crown Publishers
Author:
Les Standiford
Author:
Henry Morrison Flagler
Author:
Flagler, Henry Morrison
Author:
Standiford, Les
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Railroads
Subject:
Railroads - History
Subject:
History
Subject:
History-United States - 20th Century
Subject:
History : United States - 20th Century
Subject:
History
Subject:
Railroads - General
Subject:
History of Science-Technology
Subject:
Railroads -- North America.
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20020901
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
272

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Transportation » Railroads » General

Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad That Crossed an Ocean
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 272 pages Crown Publishers - English 9781400051182 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[A] remarkable story....Standiford does an admirable job of keeping the story afloat...and he has an eye for the memorable detail...as well as a weakness for clichés. At the end, he returns readers to his exciting account of the 1935 hurricane that destroyed much of the roadbed and exiled the railroad to history. Engaging, but facile."
"Review" by , "Standiford brings his novelist's eye to the true-life drama of the railroad built to link Key West with mainland Florida....A powerful story told by a talented writer..."
"Review" by , "With an eight-page black-and-white photo insert, this book is a remarkable account of one man's dream that ended in disaster."
"Review" by , "A good idea to have a novelist tell [this] story....The narrative bumps along, frequently veering off into tantalizing detours that lead nowhere....The book's conclusion references Shelley's cautionary poem 'Ozymandias,' a gloss on the impermanence of man's works. The warning might apply to this unsatisfying book."
"Review" by , "A dramatic story...a good deal of fun..."
"Review" by , "Last Train to Paradise is an extraordinary achievement, a nonfiction book as exciting and finely written as a first-rate novel, with the narrative drive of a locomotive....Throw in Ernest Hemingway and some of the most dramatic scenes of the chaos of a hurricane ever written and you?ve got one hell of a spectacular book."
"Synopsis" by , Describes the efforts of ambitious entrepreneur Henry Flagler to construct a railway that would connect Key West to the mainland, from the design and engineering of the project to the 1935 hurricane that destroyed the railway.
"Synopsis" by , Chronicles the rise and fall of the Key West Railroad--which reached from the shores of mainland Florida to the island of Key West--describing its seven-year construction under the watch of entrepreneur Henry Flagler and its destruction by a hurricane in 1935.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.