Union Pacific: The Reconfiguration: America's Greatest Railroad from 1969 to the Present

Union Pacific: The Reconfiguration: America's Greatest Railroad from 1969 to the Present

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by Maury Klein
     
 

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Praised by the Chicago Tribune as "thoroughly and compellingly detailed history," Volumes I and II of Maury Klein's monumental history of the Union Pacific Railroad covered the years from 1863-1969. Now the third and final volume brings the story of the Union Pacific—the oldest, largest, and most successful railroad of modern times—fully up to

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Overview

Praised by the Chicago Tribune as "thoroughly and compellingly detailed history," Volumes I and II of Maury Klein's monumental history of the Union Pacific Railroad covered the years from 1863-1969. Now the third and final volume brings the story of the Union Pacific—the oldest, largest, and most successful railroad of modern times—fully up to date.

The book follows the trajectory of an icon of the industrial age trying to negotiate its way in a post-railway world, plagued by setbacks such as labor disputes, aging infrastructure, government de-regulation, ill-fated mergers, and more. By 1969 the same company that a century earlier had triumphantly driven the golden spike into Promontory Summit—to immortalize the nation's first transcontinental railway—seemed a dinosaur destined for financial ruin. But as Klein shows, the Union Pacific not only survived but is once more thriving, which proves that railways remain critical to commerce and industry in America, even as passenger train travel has all but disappeared. Drawing on interviews with Union Pacific personnel past and present, Klein takes readers inside the great railroad—into its boardrooms and along its tracks—to show how the company adapted to the rapidly changing world of modern transportation. The book also offers fascinating portraits of the men who have run the railroad. The challenges they faced, and the strategies they developed to meet them, give readers a rare glimpse into the inner workings of one of America's great companies.

A capstone on a remarkable achievement, Union Pacific: The Reconfiguration will appeal to historians, business scholars, and transportation buffs alike.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Mr. Klein has written thoroughly researched and scrupulously objective biographies of the previously much maligned Jay Gould and E.H. Harriman, remaking their public images by presenting them in full. Now he has published the third and final volume of his magisterial history of the Union Pacific railroad, taking the company from 1969 to the present day." —Wall Street Journal

"Klein's lively yet comprehensive business history is highly recommended for all readers interested in business or railroads." — Library Journal

"One of the great contributions to railroad history is complete again with this wonderful account of Union Pacific since 1969...Personalities drive this story, and Klein's access to most of the participants, and his eye for human detail, make the book vivid." — Trains Magazine

"This is an evenhanded, warts-and-all history. The Reconfiguration is the strongest of a commendable series...For those trying to understand how the industry has rebounded to the best of times it enjoys today, Maury Klein has provided a superb study of that transformation." — Railroad History

Library Journal
This final volume of Klein's three-volume chronicle of the Union Pacific (UP) Railroad (Union Pacific 1862–1893; Union Pacific 1894–1969) traces the evolution of the company and the American railroad industry from 1969 to the present. Klein (history, Univ. of Rhode Island), a Pulitzer Prize finalist for The Life and Legend of Jay Gould, describes the 1969 railroad environment as being overbuilt, highly regulated, increasingly competitive, and hamstrung by intractable labor agreements. He explains that the financially strong but tradition-bound UP then began an ongoing effort to modernize management methods, incorporate technological advances, streamline work, and grow its business. By 1980, with government deregulation in full swing, the UP began strengthening its business through mergers, diversification, corporate restructuring, and emphasizing quality and service. Klein skillfully weaves together personalities and anecdotes with management successes and missteps to show how the UP made it through these often turbulent decades to thrive as a vital transportation link and as one of only four surviving major American railroads. VERDICT Klein's lively yet comprehensive business history is highly recommended for all readers interested in business or railroads.—Lawrence Maxted, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195369892
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
06/15/2011
Pages:
520
Sales rank:
592,628
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet the Author

Maury Klein is Professor of History Emeritus, University of Rhode Island and the author of many books, including The Power Makers.

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Union Pacific The Reconfiguration: America's Greatest Railroad from 1969 to the Present 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
CENY More than 1 year ago
I'm giving this rating on the assumption that you're looking for an authoritative history of Union Pacific since around 1970. This book definitely gives a very detailed history of all sorts of aspects of the company. If you're looking for a more analytical book, such as "trends in railroading since 1970", or "key issues in railroading", or "how to run a railroad", this book will have more detail than you need, but again, if you want to know literally everything about Union Pacific's corporate governance since 1970, it's a must-read.