THE BIG FOUR by Oscar Lewis


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What could have been a rousing story, just misses because of the manner of the telling. The material -- the big four among the railroad builders of the West, C. P. Huntington, Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker and Mark Hopkins, and the early days of railroad building, financial manipulations and political priming -- is there, but, whereas it is easy enough reading, the expository style slows up the vitality of the story. Presented objectively, the ""big four"" do not suffer glorification nor condemnation, though the facts of their lives are given in detail. The descriptions of those days, the problems of railroad etiquette yield amusing anecdotes and give the flavor of the times, Though this is not a penetrating book about railroads, men or social conditions, it is well worth reading.

Publisher: Knopf