The Great American Railroad War by Dennis Drabelle
How Ambrose Bierce and Frank Norris Took On the Notorious Central Pacific Railroad

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Synopsis

How two of America's greatest authors took on the Central Railroad monopoly


The notorious Central Pacific Railroad riveted the attention of two great American writers: Ambrose Bierce and Frank Norris. In The Great American Railroad War, Dennis Drabelle tells a classic story of corporate greed vs. the power of the pen. The Central Pacific Railroad accepted US Government loans; but, when the loans fell due, the last surviving founder of the railroad avoided repayment. Bierce, at the behest of his boss William Randolph Hearst, swung into action writing over sixty stinging articles that became a signal achievement in American journalism. Later, Norris focused the first volume of his trilogy, The Octopus, on the freight cars of a thinly disguised version of the Central Pacific. The Great American Railroad War is a lively chapter of US history pitting two of America's greatest writers against one of A merica's most powerful corporations.

 

About Dennis Drabelle

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DENNIS DRABELLE is author of Mile-High Fever. He has written for multiple publications and is currently a contributing editor and a mysteries editor for The Washington Post Book World. In 1996 he won the National Book Critics Circle’s award for excellence in reviewing. He lives in Washington, D.C.
 
Published August 21, 2012 by St. Martin's Press. 319 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, History, Education & Reference, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Great American Railroad War

Kirkus Reviews

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On May 10, 1869, the rails of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads joined at Promontory Summit, in Utah Territory, creating the first transcontinental railroad.

Jul 15 2012 | Read Full Review of The Great American Railroad W...

Publishers Weekly

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Drabelle (Mile High Fever), the Washington Post Book World’s mysteries editor and an NBCC Award–winning critic, celebrates “a free press and writers eager to give the rich and powerful hell” in his te

Apr 16 2012 | Read Full Review of The Great American Railroad W...

Publishers Weekly

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Drabelle delivers sufficient details on the shenanigans involved in building the railroads to support his antimonopoly slant, plus enough digressions to create a sense of immersion into the literary culture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Apr 16 2012 | Read Full Review of The Great American Railroad W...

The Washington Times

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For more than a century, Americans have romanticized about railroads. The railroad industry played an exceedingly important role in this country's early history. Travel became easier, people were more connected, and new communities sprang up across this land.

Sep 21 2012 | Read Full Review of The Great American Railroad W...

Washington Independent Review of Books

Dennis Drabelle’s The Great American Railroad War with its long subtitle, How Ambrose Bierce and Frank Norris Took on the Notorious Central Pacific Railroad, is a strikingly unusual book for these times, one might even say anachronistic.

Sep 21 2012 | Read Full Review of The Great American Railroad W...

City Book Review

With Huntington and his railroad as a backdrop, Drabelle contrasts these two starkly different authors, and how they swayed public opinion and affected political reform.

Oct 09 2012 | Read Full Review of The Great American Railroad W...

Portland Book Review

The Great American Railroad War tells the history of America’s railroad, more specifically the Central Pacific Line, through the eyes of two great writers, Ambrose Bierce and Frank Norris.

Nov 20 2012 | Read Full Review of The Great American Railroad W...

Bookmarks Magazine

Publisher: St. Martin's Press Product Description How two of America’s greatest authors took on the Central Railroad monopoly The notorious Central Pacific Railroad riveted the a...

Aug 29 2012 | Read Full Review of The Great American Railroad W...

HistoryNet

In the 1860s, however, the government became involved in the national interest of completing a railroad linking east and west, including a $75 million loan to the Central Pacific Railroad—essentially, a form of selective socialism from which the Central Pacific profited royally once the transcont...

Jan 31 2013 | Read Full Review of The Great American Railroad W...

The Saturday Evening Post

Dennis Drabelle’s book, The Great American Railroad War: How Ambrose Bierce and Frank Norris Took On the Notorious Central Pacific Railroad, recounts how two writers helped expose the corruption of the Central Pacific to the country.

Oct 01 2012 | Read Full Review of The Great American Railroad W...

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