An epic of rails and cities -- such is the sub-title of this long, but compact and beautifully written history of the development of civilization which began with the laying of track of the Union Pacific from Missouri to the Rockies. Deals briefly with railroad financing which had the earmarks of a wild orgy of get-rich-quick-speculation for those on the inside, but which was also wildcat speculation making fortunes for those who took the risks and won. The development of new communities -- the fight for traffic -- the rise of Denver as the Rocky Mountain metropolis -- the founding of a model farming community in the midst of the desert at Greeley, Colorado -- the fight for its place in the sun waged by San Francisco, uniquely blessed, by nature, and given fresh impetus by the accident of the gold rush -- Los Angeles building its heyday by sheer force from unfavorable beginnings and adverse circumstances -- the European backgrounds of the Pacific coast settlements -- the founding and development of dignified and self-sufficient Portland -- the creation of Tacema through the railroads -- the rise of urbane Spokane from a raw frontier community -- and running through it all the undercurrent of railroad history. Written with a distinct and intimate touch which makes the events pictorial, and which gives the cities, as well as their founders and builders, decided personalities. A book for everyone interested in our national growth -- good reading for Mr. Average Reader. An essential item for public libraries.