Unfinished Business: The Railroad in American Life

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9780874516579: Unfinished Business: The Railroad in American Life
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"To a people overwhelmed by the sheer spaciousness of their realm, the railroad opened new opportunities which even dreamers of an earlier age could not have conceived. The steamboat had conquered the waters of America but could not penetrate the great landlocked interior. The telegraph, too, bridged enormous distances, but its frail wire moved only information, not goods and people. The coming of the railroad swept all rival forms of land transportation from its path ... Within half a century the rail system became the lifeline of an industrial society, a network of steel tentacles pushing into every corner of the Republic." Unfinished Business combines Klein's best and most influential articles with new essays to tell the story of America's developing railroad industry and of the men who dominated it.
Introductory overview essays precede more focused pieces on southern rail lines, the Overland Route, and rail entrepreneurs Jay Gould and E. H. Harriman. Other essays discuss such key aspects of rail history as competition and regulation, mergers, replacement technology, and high-speed trains. A substantial final essay, written especially for this book, addresses the many basic gaps that still exist in our understanding of American railroads. Showing that railroads belong both to our past and our future, Klein writes, "A new generation of scholars has an opportunity to rectify one of the strangest mysteries in our cultural history: the golden age of railroads has come and gone, and we have yet to grasp fully what it meant to American civilization."

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From the Publisher:

6 x 9 trim. 21 illus. 6 tables. Map. LC 93-8112

About the Author:

Maury Klein is Professor of History at the University of Rhode Island.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780874516913: Unfinished Business: The Railroad in American Life

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ISBN 10:  0874516919 ISBN 13:  9780874516913
Publisher: University Press of New England, 1994
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