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Nothing Like it in the World

Ambrose, Stephen E.

8,471 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0684846098 / ISBN 13: 9780684846095
Published by Simon & Schuster, New York, 2000
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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ambrose on the men who built the transcintinental railroad 1863-1869. price clipped. Size: 8vo. Bookseller Inventory # 016326

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Nothing Like it in the World

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, New York

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

The author of Citizen Soldiers and Undaunted Courage chronicles the race to finish the transcontinental railroad in the 1860s and the exploits, sacrifices, triumphs, and tragedies of the individuals who made it happen. 500,000 first printing.

Review:

Abraham Lincoln, who had worked as a riverboat pilot before turning to politics, knew a thing or two about the problems of transporting goods and people from place to place. He was also convinced that the United States would flourish only if its far-flung regions were linked, replacing sectional loyalties with an overarching sense of national destiny.

Building a transcontinental railroad, writes the prolific historian Stephen Ambrose, was second only to the abolition of slavery on Lincoln's presidential agenda. Through an ambitious program of land grants and low-interest government loans, he encouraged entrepreneurs such as California's "Big Four"--Charles Crocker, Collis Huntington, Mark Hopkins, and Leland Stanford--to take on the task of stringing steel rails from ocean to ocean. The real work of doing so, of course, was on the shoulders of immigrant men and women, mostly Chinese and Irish. These often-overlooked actors and what a contemporary called their "dreadful vitality" figure prominently in Ambrose's narrative, alongside the great financiers and surveyors who populate the standard textbooks.

In the end, Ambrose writes, Lincoln's dream transformed the nation, marking "the first great triumph over time and space" and inaugurating what has come to be known as the American Century. David Haward Bain's Empire Express, which covers the same ground, is more substantial, but Ambrose provides an eminently readable study of a complex episode in American history. --Gregory McNamee

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