FOLLOWING THE FRONTIER: American Transportation in the Nineteenth Century by Leonard F. James

FOLLOWING THE FRONTIER: American Transportation in the Nineteenth Century

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Two things are lacking to make this consistently interesting, highly particularized chronicle a thoroughly effective book: more extensive pictorialization and an index. The material follows a familiar route: the roads opening up the Northwest Territory and the Mississippi River valley; the Erie Canal; the early railroads; the Mississippi steamboat; overland trails; the overland mail; overland freighting and the Pony Express; the first transcontinental railroad. What distinguishes this from numerous separate studies is not only the economic, social and political continuity but also the evidence that one superseded the other for reasons integral with advancement of the frontier. Each may be read equally for information about vehicles and voyagers, fares and fare; about roadbeds and weighlocks and sandboxes; about hazardous weather and hostile Indians. The chapter headings, as listed, are the only clue to the contents and considering the amount of detail (about persons, places, occurrences, inventions), much of it new, this is a serious omission; so is the absence of illustration of many of the specific items (although what pictures there are, are good). In sum--good reading, weak reference.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1968
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World