The technical and territorial development of the railroads and what they wrought, from standard time to Florida resorts. Paralleling Mrs. Burt's The National Road, this is an ample history, more so than usual at this age level. Included in the broadly chronological account are the hazards of early travel and the spate of high-speed disasters; the growth of trunk lines from the Erie to the Southern Pacific and their wayside effects (like the Illinois Central's lead in luring settlers); amenities on board (passenger cars) and along the route (railroad stations); small, specialized lines (notably the narrow gauge lines in the West); train lore from rescues to robberies. Mentioned somewhat summarily are disputes over private vs. public ownership and over methods of financing; the continuing deterioration of passenger service is largely written off. But these aspects are not central and neither is the stress on ""Yankee ingenuity"" which tends to upgrade some American contributions. Overall it's reliable, thorough, interesting.