Summary: From the author of the bestselling Bury My Heartat Wounded Knee, a classic account of the building of the transcontinental railroads.
In February 1854 the first railroad from the East reached the Mississippi; by the end of the nineteenth century five major transcontinental railroads linked the East Coast with the Pacific Ocean and thousands of miles of tracks crisscrossed the West, a vast and virginal land just a few years before.
The story of th ...show moreis extraordinary undertaking is one of astonishing technological ingenuity, otherwordly idealism, and all-too-wordly greed. The heroes and villains were Irish and Chinese laborers, intrepid engineers, avaricious bankers, stock manipulators, and corrupt politicians. Before it was over more than 155 million acres (one tenth of the country) were given away to the railroad magnates, Indian tribes were decimated, the buffalo were driven from the Great Plains, millions of immigrants were lured from Europe, and a colossal continental nation was built.