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Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who…

Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental… (original 2000; edition 2000)

by Stephen E. Ambrose

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1,789263,918 (3.69)29
Title:Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad, 1863-1869
Authors:Stephen E. Ambrose
Info:Simon & Schuster (2000), Hardcover, 432 pages
Collections:Your library, EPub, Adobe eBook, Kindle

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Nothing Like It In the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869 by Stephen E. Ambrose (2000)


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Coverage of the making of the transcontinental railroad from start to finish, including the Credit Mobilier scandal. Reviews the decisions made, and the hardships faced by those who built it, from the Irish in the east, to the Chinese in the west, and the Mormons in the middle. ( )
1 vote | cyclops1771 | Nov 13, 2014 |
Wonderful. Shows the guts and glory of those who build the railroad that brought the country together. ( )
1 vote JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
In my option, no better words can be written about this book than the following from page 357;
A person born into a world of 1829 or earlier was born in a world that president Andrew Jackson could travel no faster than Julius Caesar did in his day (July 100 BC –15 March 44 BC), a world in which information or a thought (new idea) no faster than in Alexander the Great’s day (20/21 July 356 – 10/11 June 323 BC).

With the completing of the transcontinental railroad in May 1869 and along with the telegraph beside it, a person could now go from coast to coast in 7 days by rail and to just a few hours for information to be sent by wire.

With the 21st century in so much flux, a question asked in the book is what generation lived through the greatest change? Was it the ones who lived through the coming of the automobile and airplane and the beginning of modern medicine?

Or those who were around for the invention and use of the atomic bomb and the jet aircraft? Or would it be the ones who experienced the use of the computer, internet and email which led to smartphones?

Per the author (Stephen E. Ambrose), for him; it was the generation that lived in the second half of the 19th century; and saw the end of slavery and the Civil War; electricity put to use; the development of the telephone; the completion of the telegraph and most of all, the completion of the transcontinental railroad which helped open up the western part of the country.

And remember, this was all done by hand and muscle power. To see the photos in the book and read what had to be done to build the railroad, one has to ask, how did they do it?

Read the book and you will find out! ( )
1 vote virg144 | Apr 8, 2014 |
Donated by Bill Cullen ( )
  NBRRM_library | Mar 23, 2014 |
Review of “Nothing like it in the world” by Stephen E Ambrose (The men who built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869)
By any measure, the building of the Transcontinental Railroad was a remarkable achievement, requiring capital, labour and material in stupendous quantities. This masterful account by Stephen Ambrose covers it all, from the initial support of President Lincoln, while the Civil War was still raging, to the larger than life entrepreneurs who set up the Central Pacific and Union Pacific companies, to the engineers and myriad labourers, many of them Chinese or Irish who carried out the back-breaking, relentless labour of grading, filling cutting and blasting the line of the railroad.
Early on, the author makes the point that a project on this scale had never been attempted before and almost certainly could not have succeeded without the army officers whose experience in marshalling large bodies of men, both Union and Confederate, was crucial, and the support of the Federal government, with issue of bonds and grants of land adjoining the way.
The completion of the Transcontinental Railroad united the east and west coasts of the USA for the first time, reducing the travel time from months to days and unlocking unimagined economic benefits.
This book recounts a remarkable chapter in American history, in vivid detail, and it is a rollicking good read. ( )
  DramMan | Jan 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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Next to winning the Civil War and abolishing slavery, building the first transcontinental railroad, from Omaha, Nebraska, to Sacramento, California, was the greatest achievement of the American people in the nineteenth century.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743203178, Paperback)

Abraham Lincoln, who had worked as a riverboat pilot before turning to politics, knew a thing or two about the problems of transporting goods and people from place to place. He was also convinced that the United States would flourish only if its far-flung regions were linked, replacing sectional loyalties with an overarching sense of national destiny.

Building a transcontinental railroad, writes the prolific historian Stephen Ambrose, was second only to the abolition of slavery on Lincoln's presidential agenda. Through an ambitious program of land grants and low-interest government loans, he encouraged entrepreneurs such as California's "Big Four"--Charles Crocker, Collis Huntington, Mark Hopkins, and Leland Stanford--to take on the task of stringing steel rails from ocean to ocean. The real work of doing so, of course, was on the shoulders of immigrant men and women, mostly Chinese and Irish. These often-overlooked actors and what a contemporary called their "dreadful vitality" figure prominently in Ambrose's narrative, alongside the great financiers and surveyors who populate the standard textbooks.

In the end, Ambrose writes, Lincoln's dream transformed the nation, marking "the first great triumph over time and space" and inaugurating what has come to be known as the American Century. David Haward Bain's Empire Express, which covers the same ground, is more substantial, but Ambrose provides an eminently readable study of a complex episode in American history. --Gregory McNamee

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:45 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The account of an unprecedented feat of engineering, vision, and courage. It is the story of the men who built the transcontinental railroad-the investors who risked their businesses and money; the enlightened politicians who understood its importance; the engineers and surveyors who risked, and sometimes lost, their lives; and the Irish and Chinese immigrants, the defeated Confederate soldiers, and the other laborers who did the backbreaking and dangerous work on the tracks. The U.S. government pitted two companies, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific Railroads, against each other in a race for funding, encouraging speed over caution. At its peak, the work force approached the size of Civil War armies, with as many as 15,000 workers on each line. Nothing like this great work had ever been seen in the world when the golden spike was driven in Promontory Peak, Utah, in 1869, as the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific tracks were joined. This is the story of the brave men, the famous and the unheralded, ordinary men doing the extraordinary -- who accomplished the spectacular feat that made the continent into a nation.… (more)

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