Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America

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9780393061260: Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America
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The transcontinental railroads of the late nineteenth century were the first corporate behemoths. Their attempts to generate profits from proliferating debt sparked devastating panics in the U.S. economy. Their dependence on public largess drew them into the corridors of power, initiating new forms of corruption. Their operations rearranged space and time, and remade the landscape of the West. As wheel and rail, car and coal, they opened new worlds of work and ways of life. Their discriminatory rates sparked broad opposition and a new antimonopoly politics. With characteristic originality, range, and authority, Richard White shows the transcontinentals to be pivotal actors in the making of modern America. But the triumphal myths of the golden spike, robber barons larger than life, and an innovative capitalism all die here. Instead we have a new vision of the Gilded Age, often darkly funny, that shows history to be rooted in failure as well as success.

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Review:

Starred Review. Excellent big-picture, popularly written history of the Howard Zinn mold, backed by a mountain of research and statistics.

When it comes to the American West, there is no other writer like Richard White, a serious scholar with a highly original take on familiar subjects and wit and elegant prose besides. His subject, the making of the transcontinental railroads, is perhaps the pivotal story of the American West, but it's not the one most of us know from movies and mythologies. It's about the birth of all those things that most trouble us nowadays, a genesis story in which the serpent in Eden is the railroad itself writhing across the continent. A story of corporate power, industrialization, and political corruption, White tells it as it needs to be told.--Rebecca Solnit, author of River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West

This is history as dark comedy, brilliant and unsettling, puncturing facile economics and bland history alike. With ingenious research and iconoclastic perspective, Richard White recasts our understanding of a major chapter in American history. Mark Twain would be bitterly amused to learn just how gilded the Gilded Age really was.--Edward L. Ayers, President, University of Richmond

About the Author:

Richard White is the Margaret Byrne Professor Emeritus of American History at Stanford University. He is the author of many acclaimed books in American western and environmental history, including Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Parkman Prize, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780393342376: Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America

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ISBN 10:  0393342379 ISBN 13:  9780393342376
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, 2013
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9781617935435: Railroaded (The Transcontinentals and the making of modern america)

Norton, 2011
Softcover

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