Synopses & Reviews
The opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830 marked the beginning of a transport revolution that would forever transform the way we live. Blood, Iron, and Gold
takes us on a journey encompassing jungle, mountain, and desert, revealing the huge impact of the railroads as they spread rapidly across entire countries, and linked cities that hitherto had little reach beyond their immediate environs. The rise of the train triggered daring engineering feats, great architectural innovation, and the rapid movement of people and goods across the globe. Cultures were both enriched and destroyed by the unrelenting construction of the railroads, and the new technology quickly took on a vital role in civil conflicts and two world wars.
In this beautifully illustrated book, renowned transportation journalist Christian Wolmar celebrates the vision and determination of the ambitious pioneers who developed the railways that would dominate the globe.
Richard F. Harnish, Executive Director, Midwest High Speed Rail Association
“Blood, Iron, and Gold reminds us that the railroads did more than just speed up travel or build up national economies. They literally changed the way human beings experienced, thought about and lived their lives. Christian Wolmar’s book should put all high-speed-rail advocates on notice. Trains can return to the American landscape, traveling twice as fast, reprising the social revolution they set off almost two centuries ago."
Library Journal STARRED Review
“[Wolmar’s] work is both a serious history and an adventure story. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the growth and global historical impact of railroads.”
“Wolmar explores this fertile subject with a blend of lucid exposition and engaging historical narrative. The result is a fascinating study not just of a transportation system, but of the Promethean spirit of the modern age.”
Wall Street Journal
“[Wolmar] covers a great deal of territory in "Blood, Iron and Gold," but he keeps the reader engaged by highlighting extraordinary projects like the building of the Trans-Siberian Railway from 1891 to 1904. It connected St. Petersburg to Vladivostok, a distance of almost 6,200 miles. Equally stirring is the saga of Cecil Rhodes and his never-completed Cape-to-Cairo line; and that of Peru's vertiginous Central Railway, which ascends the Andes and passes through the Galera Tunnel, 15,694 feet above sea level. The book also features cameo appearances by such colorful figures as Benito Mussolini, who may or may not have made Italy's trains run on time but who definitely made them run faster and more frequently. Nor does Mr. Wolmar neglect the pop-culture angle: Agatha Christie fans will be sorry to learn that history records no instance of a real-life murder on the Orient Express.”
Dallas Morning News“It's not clear who first thought of putting carts and carriages on flanged wheels and hauling them over iron rails behind steam engines. But the railroad, writes transportation historian Christian Wolmar, changed everything. And he means everything….It's a vast geopolitical story, but Wolmar manages to tell it without losing sight of the romance and adventure, the triumphs and frequent tragedies that accompanied the advancing rails.”
Trains Magazine“Most attempts at a generalist approach toward railroad history err on the side of history and slight the rail side. (Blood, Iron, and Gold) keeps the two elements in graceful balance. And, thanks to Wolmar’s crisp style, it’s a pleasure to read.”
Britains leading train expert tells the epic story of how the worlds railroads shaped commerce, cultures, and countries, and created the modern era
About the Author
Christian Wolmar is a writer and broadcaster specializing in the social history of railways and transport. He has written for major British newspapers for many years and has contributed to many other publications, including the New York Times and Newsday. He frequently appears on TV and radio as an expert commentator. His most recent books are The Subterranean Railway, a history of the London Underground, the world's oldest system, and Fire and Steam, the story of Britain's railways.