TRACKS ACROSS AMERICA: The Story of the American Railroad 1825-1900 by Leonard Everett Fisher

TRACKS ACROSS AMERICA: The Story of the American Railroad 1825-1900

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Fisher expands handsomely on his The Railroads (1979), adding nearly 100 period photos, prints, and maps and describing in detail the industry's growth. He begins in England with the development of steam-driven pumps; in 1829, Horatio Allen displayed his Stourbridge Lion in the US and the race was on, impelled by westward expansion and the Industrial Revolution. Fisher devotes chapters to the use and abuse of railroads in the Civil War; the CrÉdit Mobilier and other scandals; the just, but futile, Native American resistance; wrecks--the Camp Hill Disaster, the Angola Horror and, of course, Casey Jones's heroic end; robbers, tycoons, and workers (including the Harvey Girls); and the violent beginnings of organized labor. He closes with a brief discussion of technical innovations that made rail transport so fast and cheap by the century's end. Though the narrative is occasionally interrupted with lists of routes and companies that will interest only confirmed enthusiasts, the author clearly shows how and why railroads came to be pivotal in our history and society. Bibliography; index.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1992
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Holiday House