Personalities, negotiations, daydreams and nightmares involved in the building of the Central and Union Pacific railroads. From the campaigning of Asa Whitney who fought the shipping interests of New England and wanted to build the railroad himself, and the planners like Grenville Dodge, ""Crazy"" Judah, Stanford, Crocker, Hopkins, and Huntington to the many ""little"" men -- the Chinese, the Irish and others -- who ""drilled, blasted and fired"" through stone and woods, -- all were making history and knew it. From Omaha west and from Sacramento east the railroad crept until the great day of May 10, 1869 when the gold spike was driven uniting East and West. The author has caught the drama of the building years -- Indians, buffaloes scratching their backs on the markers, whisper campaigns to discredit the enterprise, bad men and ""clean-ups"". An energetic, lively report.