Empire Express: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad

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Penguin, Sep 1, 2000 - History - 816 pages
After the Civil War, the building of the transcontinental railroad was the nineteenth century's most transformative event. Beginning in 1842 with a visionary's dream to span the continent with twin bands of iron, Empire Express captures three dramatic decades in which the United States effectively doubled in size, fought three wars, and began to discover a new national identity. From self--made entrepreneurs such as the Union Pacific's Thomas Durant and era--defining figures such as President Lincoln to the thousands of laborers whose backbreaking work made the railroad possible, this extraordinary narrative summons an astonishing array of voices to give new dimension not only to this epic endeavor but also to the culture, political struggles, and social conflicts of an unforgettable period in American history.

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User Review  - christinejoseph - LibraryThing

Transcontinental Railroad — building all crooks — wonder it got built! — Very interesting history of country After the Civil War, the building of the transcontinental railroad was the nineteenth ... Read full review

EMPIRE EXPRESS: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad

User Review  - Kirkus

A compelling, comprehensive account of one of history's greatest construction projects. On May 10, 1869, when telegraph lines carried the news that the transcontinental railroad was finally complete ... Read full review


For All the Human Family
Who Can Oppose Such a Work?
I Must Walk Toward Oregon
The Great Object for Which We Were Created
An Uninhabited and Dreary Waste
Raise the Money and I Will Build Your Road
There Comes Crazy Judah
The Marks Left by the Donner Party
The Napoleon of Railways
We Swarmed the Mountains with Men
Until They Are Severely Punished
Nitroglycerine Tells
Our Future Power and Influence
They All Died in Their Boots
There Are Only Five of Us
More Hungry Men in Congress

The Most Difficult Country Ever Conceived
We Have Drawn the Elephant
Speculation Is as Fatal to It as Secession
I Have Had a Big Row and Fight
First Dictator of the Railroad World
Dancing with a Whirlwind
Trustees of the Bounty of Congress
The Great Cloud Darkening the Land
If We Can Save Our Scalps
Vexation Trouble and Continual Hindrance
Bring On Your Eight Thousand Men
We Are in a Terrible Sweat
A Man for Breakfast Every Morning
A Resistless Power
We Have Got Done Praying
Trial of the Innocents

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About the author (2000)

David Haward Bain is the author of four previous works of nonfiction, including Empire Express and Sitting in Darkness, which received a Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Award. His articles and essays have appeared in Smithsonian, American Heritage, Kenyon Review, and Prairie Schooner, and he reviews regularly for The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, and Newsday. He is a teacher at Middlebury College and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

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