The Great Railroad Revolution by Christian Wolmar
The History of Trains in America

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Synopsis

America was made by the railroads. The opening of the Baltimore & Ohio line––the first American railroad––in the 1830s sparked a national revolution in the way that people lived thanks to the speed and convenience of train travel. Promoted by visionaries and built through heroic effort, the American railroad network was bigger in every sense than Europe’s, and facilitated everything from long-distance travel to commuting and transporting goods to waging war. It united far-flung parts of the country, boosted economic development, and was the catalyst for America’s rise to world-power status.

Every American town, great or small, aspired to be connected to a railroad and by the turn of the century, almost every American lived within easy access of a station. By the early 1900s, the United States was covered in a latticework of more than 200,000 miles of railroad track and a series of magisterial termini, all built and controlled by the biggest corporations in the land. The railroads dominated the American landscape for more than a hundred years but by the middle of the twentieth century, the automobile, the truck, and the airplane had eclipsed the railroads and the nation started to forget them.  

In The Great Railroad Revolution, renowned railroad expert Christian Wolmar tells the extraordinary story of the rise and the fall of the greatest of all American endeavors, and argues that the time has come for America to reclaim and celebrate its often-overlooked rail heritage.
 

 

About Christian Wolmar

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Christian Wolmar is a writer and broadcaster, specializing in transportation matters. He has written for major British newspapers for many years and has contributed to many other publications, including the New York Times and Newsday. His most recent books are Blood, Iron, and Gold and Engines of War.
 
Published September 25, 2012 by PublicAffairs. 450 pages
Genres: History, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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Further, “there never has been a single railroad company stretching from East Coast to West.” All of this does nothing to diminish the accomplishment of introducing the new technology of the railroad and extending it over thousands of miles in the space of just three decades, work carried out by ...

Aug 22 2012 | Read Full Review of The Great Railroad Revolution...

Publishers Weekly

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In a volume that will delight train buffs—and hopefully others—English historian and railway expert Wolmar (On the Wrong Line) examines the rise and fall of railroads in America, with a detailed look at how they influenced and directed the growth of the country for more than a century.

Jul 16 2012 | Read Full Review of The Great Railroad Revolution...

The Wall Street Journal

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Even so, "The Great American Railroad War" is a welcome reminder of two American writers who deserve to be more widely remembered and of a freewheeling time in our history when (for better or worse) railroads were at the peak of their power.

Oct 05 2012 | Read Full Review of The Great Railroad Revolution...

The Wall Street Journal

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Railroads aided Reconstruction, fed growing cities and even gave us time zones.

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Christian Science Monitor

It's one of two new books – the other is "The Great Railroad Revolution: The History of Trains in America" – that explore how the USA looked toward and beyond its western horizon.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Yet just as the Hamiltonian philosophy propelled a national railroad network in the 18th century, that same relentless capitalistic drive for more, more, more, faster, faster, faster also meant that when Henry Ford emerged with the Model T, it was only a matter of time before Hamilton’s followers...

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