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The Angola Horror: The 1867 Train Wreck That…
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The Angola Horror: The 1867 Train Wreck That Shocked the Nation and…

by Charity Vogel

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  NYCSHistSoc | Jul 19, 2017 |
5162. The Angola Horror The 1867 Train Wreck That Shocked the Nation and Transformed American Railroads, by Charity Vogel (read 15 May 2014) This 2013 book is the only book which deals with the horrific train wreck which occurred Dec. 18, 1867, at Angola, New York. The author has done a tremendous amount of research in regard to the event, and her book is well-footnoted and has a full bibliography and index. The book is chronological and while the account of the events prior to the wreck has a lot of surmise and telling what people on the train thought and felt, the actual wreck and all the events thereafter are excellently told and one experiences vicariously the event and the terrible work necessary to rescue the survivors and recover the bodies of the horribly killed and burned victims. The negligence of the railroad and its employees was seemingly palpable but apparently no suit was ever filed and the railroad paid only some of the victims and what they paid was niggardly. The law today rightly deems a common carrier owes a high degree of care to persons riding thereon--but that rule apparently was not considered to apply back in 1867, and the investigation was hurried and within days the coroner found the railroad not to blame. It does seem that the lawyers of the day should have more vigorously pursued compensation for the injured and dead from the railroad but perhaps the law did not make such a course attractive. As the book makes clear, the way to encourage a railroad to seek greater safety for its passengers would have been to hold the railroad liable for the great harm incurred. This is a good book and tells the story of the event well. ( )
1 vote Schmerguls | May 15, 2014 |
Vogel provides readers with a detailed look at the passengers aboard a horrible train accident that occurred outside Angola, New York shortly before Christmas in 1867. She describes the tragedy itself, the reaction of the townspeople, the findings of a jury regarding the railroad's responsibility in the disaster, and the impetus for change it sparked. Vogel conducted extensive research at a large number of repositories studying a wide range of newspapers, archival materials, and other resources. I am impressed by her notes and bibliography of resources utilized in writing this volume. The narrative itself is readable and engaging. This review is based on an advance e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley. ( )
1 vote thornton37814 | Jun 1, 2013 |
It's clear that Vogel's work is a labor of love, which mitigates the potential of this tragic event and the circumstances that prevailed, from being faded from memory. The book is well written and educational. Vogel's use of the English language is superb. The Angola Horror is essential reading for anyone who is interested in rail, historical Hamilton or the lessons learned from our past.

The Angola Horror is a classic story of disaster and its aftermath, in which events coincide to produce horrific consequences and people are forced to respond to experiences that test the limits of their endurance.

I was given this book by NetGalley. www.netgalley.com ( )
  MaryAnn12 | May 2, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0801449081, Hardcover)

On December 18, 1867, the Buffalo and Erie Railroad’s eastbound New York Express derailed as it approached the high truss bridge over Big Sister Creek, just east of the small settlement of Angola, New York, on the shores of Lake Erie. The last two cars of the express train were pitched completely off the tracks and plummeted into the creek bed below. When they struck bottom, one of the wrecked cars was immediately engulfed in flames as the heating stoves in the coach spilled out coals and ignited its wooden timbers. The other car was badly smashed. About fifty people died at the bottom of the gorge or shortly thereafter, and dozens more were injured. Rescuers from the small rural community responded with haste, but there was almost nothing they could do but listen to the cries of the dying—and carry away the dead and injured thrown clear of the fiery wreck. The next day and in the weeks that followed, newspapers across the country carried news of the “Angola Horror,” one of the deadliest railway accidents to that point in U.S. history.

In a dramatic historical narrative, Charity Vogel tells the gripping, true-to-life story of the wreck and the characters involved in the tragic accident. Her tale weaves together the stories of the people—some unknown; others soon to be famous—caught up in the disaster, the facts of the New York Express’s fateful run, the fiery scenes in the creek ravine, and the subsequent legal, legislative, and journalistic search for answers to the question: what had happened at Angola, and why? The Angola Horror is a classic story of disaster and its aftermath, in which events coincide to produce horrific consequences and people are forced to respond to experiences that test the limits of their endurance. Vogel sets the Angola Horror against a broader context of the developing technology of railroads, the culture of the nation’s print media, the public policy legislation of the post–Civil War era, and, finally, the culture of death and mourning in the Victorian period. The Angola Horror sheds light on the psyche of the American nation. The fatal wreck of an express train nine years later, during a similar bridge crossing in Ashtabula, Ohio, serves as a chilling coda to the story.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:56 -0400)

On December 18, 1867, the Buffalo and Erie Railroad's eastbound New York Express derailed as it approached the high truss bridge over Big Sister Creek, just east of the small settlement of Angola, New York, on the shores of Lake Erie. A dramatic historical narrative, tells the gripping, true-to-life story of the wreck and the characters involved in the tragic accident.… (more)

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