Until the Last Spike, the Journal of Sean Sullivan, a Transcontinental Railroad Worker, Nebraska and Points West, 1867

Overview

Acclaimed author William Durbin's exciting JOURNAL OF SEAN SULLIVAN is now in paperback with a dynamic repackaging!

It's August 1867 and Sean has just arrived from Chicago, planning to work with his father on the Transcontinental Railroad. Sean must start at the bottom, as a water carrier, toting barrels of it to the thirsty men who are doing the backbreaking work on the line. At night, everyone is usually too tired to do anything but sleep, yet Sundays are free, and Sean ...

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Until the Last Spike, the Journal of Sean Sullivan, a Transcontinental Railroad Worker, Nebraska and Points West, 1867

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Overview

Acclaimed author William Durbin's exciting JOURNAL OF SEAN SULLIVAN is now in paperback with a dynamic repackaging!

It's August 1867 and Sean has just arrived from Chicago, planning to work with his father on the Transcontinental Railroad. Sean must start at the bottom, as a water carrier, toting barrels of it to the thirsty men who are doing the backbreaking work on the line. At night, everyone is usually too tired to do anything but sleep, yet Sundays are free, and Sean discovers the rough and rowdy world of the towns that seem to sprout up from nowhere along the railroad's path over the prairie. But prejudices run rampant for both the Irish and Chinese workers -- especially when they start a deadly race to see who can lay track the fastest. Through Sean's eyes, the history of this era and the magnitude of his and his fellow workers' achievements come alive.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Greg M. Romaneck
"I can see two railroads rushing toward each other and into history, leaving an army of pick-and-shovel men behind." With these words Sean Sullivan looked back on the two year long experience of a lifetime that he had working for the Union Pacific during the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. Sean was fifteen years old when he came west to join his father who was a foreman with the railroad. It was only two years since the bloody Civil War had been settled and many of the men working on this vast project, including Sean's father, were veterans of that conflict. Sean began his work as a water boy and, over time, held many jobs culminating with his being a skilled "spiker." While building what was to become one of the most amazing engineering and endurance projects of American history, Sean saw unforgettable sights. Winter blizzards with forty foot deep drifts, plummeting gorges that had to be bridged, buffalo herds that stretched to the horizon, and the vast Western Plains all were part of Sean's two-year assignment. Along the way Sean also saw the effects of greed, racism, and exploitation as hundreds of men died during the construction of the railroad. In the end Sean and his father survived their great adventure and went on to work for the railroads of America in a variety of capacities but nothing ever quite came up to the two years spent racing West during the construction of one of the most amazing railroads in human history. Taking the form of Sean's fictional journal, Until the Last Spike is an outstanding work of historical fiction. Originally published in 1999 as part of the "Dear America" series, this paperback republication will serve its readers well by telling a story that features superior writing which enables history to come alive. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545530804
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/27/2013
  • Series: My Name Is America Series
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 619,456
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


William Durbin is the award-winning author of many titles for young readers, including THE JOURNAL OF SEAN SULLIVAN, A TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWORKER and THE DARKEST EVENING, both published by Scholastic. A winner of the Great Lakes Book Award and a two-time winner of the Minnesota Book award, his other books are SONG OF SAMPO LAKE; THE WINTER WAR; BLACKWATER BEN; EL LECTOR; and THE BROKEN BLADE, as well as its companion, WINTERING.

Born in Minneapolis, William and his wife have lived on Lake Vermilion in the canoe country of Northeastern Minnesota for the past 20 years.

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