THE IRON HORSE by Richard Wormser


How Railroads Changed America
Age Range: 11 & up
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 An engrossing, highly readable account of the social and political issues surrounding the development of railroads in the US. Wormser not only describes the benefits of rail travel but provides information on earlier means of transportation, then focuses on greedy, ruthless, and corrupt railroad magnates; the important role of railroads in the Civil War; Chinese railroad workers (though their 1867 strike isn't mentioned); famous train robbers; Pullman and his dining and sleeping cars; and farmers' and railroad workers' revolts. The destruction of Native-American society and culture is touched on briefly. The author gives little information on technology, except for a chapter on safety improvements; Fisher's Tracks Across America (1992), which otherwise covers similar ground, tells more about engineering developments, and also has a far more handsome format. Still, Wormser gives more detail on other topics, plus many different incidents. (See also Jim Murphy's excellent Across America on an Emigrant Train, p. 1465) Contemporary quotes enliven the text, but are only minmally documented--notes would have increased the book's value. B&w photos; brief bibliography including juvenile titles; index (not seen). (Nonfiction. 11+)

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-8027-8221-3
Page count: 182pp
Publisher: Walker
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1993


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