Unfinished Business: The Railroad in American Life

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"Sooner or later every age finds a symbol which best expresses the essence of its character to later generations," writes Maury Klein, who has spent nearly three decades tracing the evolution and impact of the American railroad industry. "The coming of the railroad swept all rival forms of land transportation from its path . . . Within half a century, the rail system became the lifeline of an industrial society, a network of steel tentacles pushing into every corner of the Republic." Unfinished Business combines Klein's most influential articles with new essays to tell the story of America's developing railroad industry and the men who dominated it.

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Editorial Reviews

David Rouse
Klein is regarded as one of this nation's most eminent railroad historians. This book is a collection of earlier scholarly articles and popular pieces but also includes a new essay on the importance of railroad history in understanding American life. While some of Klein's work will appeal to railroad nostalgia buffs, his primary concern is with the impact of the railroad on American business and social development. Recent recognition of the significance of this impact came with the awarding of the 1993 Nobel Prize in economics to Robert Vogel, in part because of his econometric analyses of the late-nineteenth-century railroad industry. Klein provides a fascinating complement to Vogel's more esoteric approach.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874516579
  • Publisher: University Press of New England
  • Publication date: 4/1/1994
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.29 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

Maury Klein is Professor of History at the University of Rhode Island, and author Union Pacific (1990) and other books.
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Table of Contents

A Memoir by Way of Introduction; or, How I Got Here from There 1
Patterns of Early American Railroad Development 8
The Rise of the Iron Horse 18
The Strategy of Southern Railroads 31
Southern Railroad Leaders, 1865-1893: Identities and Ideologies 48
The Overland Route: First Impressions 68
In Search of Jay Gould 83
The Man Who Saved the Railroads 110
Competition and Regulation: The Railroad Model 122
The Turning Point in American Railroad History 135
Replacement Technology: The Diesel as a Case Study 143
High-Speed Trains: America's Lost Opportunity 155
The Unfinished Business of American Railroad History 166
Notes 187
Bibliography of Articles and Papers 217
Index 219
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