ACROSS AMERICA ON AN EMIGRANT TRAIN by Jim Murphy

ACROSS AMERICA ON AN EMIGRANT TRAIN

Age Range: 9 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The 19th century's transcontinental railroads, explored via a delightfully effective narrative device: tracing the 1879 journey of Robert Louis Stevenson, who, at 29, was making an as- swift-as-possible journey from Edinburgh to Monterey, California, where his beloved Fanny was desperately ill. Murphy draws extensively on Stevenson's own account of his journey, by boat and a succession of trains of varying speed and discomfort, paraphrasing the gist of his experiences and including splendid quotes revealing RLS as a sharp observer--and extraordinarily gifted reporter--with an open mind and an unusually humane attitude toward people of all sorts. Meanwhile, in well- integrated tangents, Murphy discusses related topics: the building of the railroad, including the roles of different ethnic groups; the prevalence of collisions like one that delayed RLS's train; various immigrant groups; the real nature of the ``Wild West.'' He ends with the joyful reunion (Fanny has recovered) and a summary of RLS's brief later life. A fascinating, imaginatively structured account that brings the experience vividly to life in all its detail: history at its best. Generously illustrated with period photos and prints; endpaper map; extensive bibliography, mostly of sources; index. (Nonfiction. 9+)

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 1993
ISBN: 0-395-63390-7
Page count: 150pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1993




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