Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America

Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America

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by Richard White
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0393061264

ISBN-13: 9780393061260

Pub. Date: 05/31/2011

Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

A new, incisive history of the transcontinental railroads and how they transformed America in the decades after the Civil War.
The transcontinental railroads of the late nineteenth century were the first corporate behemoths. Their attempts to generate profits from proliferating debt sparked devastating panics in the U.S. economy. Their dependence on public largess

Overview

A new, incisive history of the transcontinental railroads and how they transformed America in the decades after the Civil War.
The transcontinental railroads of the late nineteenth century were the first corporate behemoths. Their attempts to generate profits from proliferating debt sparked devastating panics in the U.S. economy. Their dependence on public largess drew them into the corridors of power, initiating new forms of corruption. Their operations rearranged space and time, and remade the landscape of the West. As wheel and rail, car and coal, they opened new worlds of work and ways of life. Their discriminatory rates sparked broad opposition and a new antimonopoly politics.
With characteristic originality, range, and authority, Richard White shows the transcontinentals to be pivotal actors in the making of modern America. But the triumphal myths of the golden spike, robber barons larger than life, and an innovative capitalism all die here. Instead we have a new vision of the Gilded Age, often darkly funny, that shows history to be rooted in failure as well as success.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393061260
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
05/31/2011
Pages:
660
Sales rank:
844,415
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.90(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xiii

List of Maps and Charts xv

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction xxi

1 Genesis 1

First Principles 3

Patriotism and Profit 9

The Acts of the Founders 17

Building with Other People's Money 26

Golden Spike 37

A Railroad Life: H. K. Thomas 39

2 Annus Horribilis: 1873 47

Springtime in Mexico 51

Springtime in Canada 55

The Indians' Perpetual Winter 59

Political Storms Brewing 62

Information and Trust 66

The Long Winter 77

Stories of the Fall 84

A Railroad Life: William Hyde 88

3 Friends 93

The Lobby 102

Antimonopoly and Party Politics 109

The Southern Transcontinental 118

Reform in the Gilded Age 130

A Railroad Life: Elias C. Boudinot 134

4 Spatial Politics 140

Absolute Space 142

Relational Space 146

The Things They Carried 152

How Railroad Rates Construct Space 162

The Rise of the Octopus 169

Regulating Space 174

A Railroad Life: Alfred A. Cohen 179

5 Kilkenny Cats 186

Creative Destruction 188

The Colton Trial 197

Territory 203

Rationalizing Irrationality 212

Superheroes of Bad Management 216

A System That Did Not Bury Its Dead 223

Mise en Scène: Labor in Nature 225

6 Men in Octopus Suits 230

The Visible Hand 235

Men and Boys: Manhood and Management 243

A Political Animal 252

Going Off the Tracks 264

A Railroad Life: William Mahl 270

7 Workingmen 278

Control of Work 282

The Knights of Labor 287

Contract Labor and the Chinese 293

Rock Springs 305

Workers' Marginalism 314

A Railroad Life: William Pinkerton 317

8 Looking Backward 326

Benevolent Trusts 332

Waiting for Natural Monopoly 334

Labor's Defeats 336

Bears 347

The Interstate Commerce Commission 355

The Interstate‐Commerce Railway Association 359

Mise en Scène: The Death of Johanna Grogan 366

9 Collapse 370

An Alcoholics Anonymous for Railroads 372

Bankers 378

Villard and Adams 382

The Second Fall of Henry Villard 391

The Panic of 1893 393

The Struggles of the Octopus 398

Mise en Scène: Reading the Newspapers 410

10 Strike 414

The Courts 418

Union Pacific and Great Northern 422

Pullman 429

The Decline of the Octopus 450

Mise en Scène: Following the Detectives 453

11 Creative Destruction 455

Dumb Growth 460

Cattle 466

The Diverging Dakotas 482

Rain Follows the Plow 486

Mise en Scène: Wovoka 496

Epilogue 499

Conclusion 507

Appendix 519

Notes 535

Index 643

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Railroaded 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was well researched and very well written. A bit long in the tooth as it contained more data and facts than just about any book I have read. However, I find it hard to believe that every manager of every railroad was corrupt and that every politician associated with the roads was corrupt. White even blames the roads for the demise of native americans and the buffalo. Due to the author's negative views, it became a tiresome read after awhile.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
amazon has their ebook version for almost $10 cheaper than BN, $19.17 vs. $28.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book sounds like the author Richard White has a problem with everything and everybody in America . Way too much information given on certain subjects. He probibly is at one of the occupy wall street camps at this writing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago