Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow: The Epic Story of the Transcontinental Railroads

Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow The Epic Story of the Transcontinental Railroads From the author of the best selling Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Dee Brown s classic account of the building of the transcontinental railroad In February the first railroad from the East reache

  • Title: Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow: The Epic Story of the Transcontinental Railroads
  • Author: Dee Brown
  • ISBN: 9780805068924
  • Page: 140
  • Format: Paperback
  • From the author of the best selling Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown s classic account of the building of the transcontinental railroad.In February 1854 the first railroad from the East reached the Mississippi by the end of the nineteenth century five major transcontinental railroads linked the East Coast with the Pacific Ocean and thousands of miles of tracks criFrom the author of the best selling Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown s classic account of the building of the transcontinental railroad.In February 1854 the first railroad from the East reached the Mississippi by the end of the nineteenth century five major transcontinental railroads linked the East Coast with the Pacific Ocean and thousands of miles of tracks criss crossed in the West, a vast and virginal land just a few years before.The story of this extraordinary undertaking is one of breathtaking technological ingenuity, otherwordly idealism, and all too wordly greed The heroes and villains were Irish and Chinese laborers, intrepid engineers, avaricious bankers, stock manipulators, and corrupt politicians Before it was over than 155 million acres one tenth of the country were given away to the railroad magnates, Indian tribes were decimated, the buffalo were driven from the Great Plains, millions of immigrants were lured from Europe, and a colossal continental nation was built.Woven into this dramatic narrative are the origins of present day governmental corruption, the first ties between powerful corporations and politicians who enjoyed the frequent showers of money that fell upon them from railroad stock manipulators, and gave away America How the people of that time responded to a sense of disillusionment remarkably similar to our own adds a contemporary dimension to this story.

    One thought on “Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow: The Epic Story of the Transcontinental Railroads”

    1. Great history of the crossing of the American West by railroad builders, either a great triumph for the industrial world or a great tragedy for the natural world. Brown judges it as neither, merely telling the story with all its literal and figurative twists and turns.

    2. I stumbled upon this book a few weeks ago in the basement of a used bookstore, and was excited to see something else by Dee Brown (Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.) And though I would have like Brown to be a little more caustic at times, he does a really thorough job of explaining the trans-continental railroad with an analysis that covers the major categories I wanted it to: railroads as a main form of controlling, devastating and modernizing the west; Indian resistance to railroads; the robber b [...]

    3. A good history, as long as one is prepared for the author's political/social views sometimes obscuring the narrative (and I share these views almost completely, but it was still a lot). A revisionist story, but at a time when that was even more necessary than it is now. Plus, what else would one read for a short one-volume history of the American railroads? Stephen Ambrose? Please. GTFO with that mess.

    4. In a striking case of honesty, the back cover text tells us most of what we would need to know about the book’s approach. It reads: “In February 1854 the first railroad from the East reached the Mississippi. By the end of the nineteenth century, five major transcontinental railroads linked the East Coast with the Pacific Ocean, and thousands of miles of tracks crisscrossed the West, a vast and virginal land just a few years before. The building of America’s transcontinental railroads is a [...]

    5. super interesting book on the transcontinental railroad. How it came to be, and facts/details on building it.

    6. An excellent read and very complete story of the Transcontinental Railroads. I learned a lot about the Railroads and how they were formed. An Excellent reference book. Enjoy!

    7. It's the 1860s and the West is just opening up: there are gold-digging settlements in California, the odd ranching town, but essentially the huge sweep of the mid-West remains home "only" to Native Americans and buffalo. Control and settlement of this vast country urgently requires infrastructure, to enable faster, safer and higher-volume transport than can be achieved by wagon train or long shipping routes. The land is ripe for the picking when the railroad men step in, hastily throwing down th [...]

    8. Dee Brown, best known as the author of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, predictably drives home the message that railroad robber barons colluded with politicians, ripping off the government and the people to gain wealth and power. He emphasizes the role of the railroads as an incentive for and an instrument of the mistreatment and annihilation of native Americans. This theme of technological change threatening the livelihood and well being of the common people has obvious parallels in current even [...]

    9. This is a little bit of a cheat to say I read this book specifically. My local library only had a version pared down for younger readers (say, maybe junior high level) and did not have that version listed. Even considering that, this is a terrific read especially for folks interested in the old west. Dee Brown, like in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (the full version), knows how to present historical facts and anecdotes in a clear, entertaining manner; free of the academic clutter that plagues s [...]

    10. I am on a history reading bender lately, this one about the railroads, but really about the corruption in US politics after the Civil War and up to end of that century. It ties to my genealogy research as it explains some of what was driving the immigrants to settle the midwest and west. Its a good read, but can get a little long in its seemingly endless parade of crooked rail people. But also very interesting parts such as the discussion of the "Harvey" girls, what the travel experience was lik [...]

    11. While this non-fiction tale of the early railroads in the west was dry at times, I found it a fascinating read. I especially enjoyed how the author wove politics and western expansion into the story. It was a bit dated (my copy was from 1979), yet reminded me of the Koch brothers of today. I would have appreciated more insight into how the railroads fared during the 20th century when autos and airplanes took over, as well as the realities of the lasting impacts in contemporary times (especially [...]

    12. Like an underpowered locomotive, it started strong and then ground to a halt. The opening chapters pertinent to the laying down of the western railways are solid, workmanlike, and riveting. The last three are a dismal screed with minimal attention to detail.

    13. Some books by their very name create an aura that, when read, is completely dispelled to reveal a new reality. This book reveals how U.S. politics and business was created. All we need now is volume two revealing where all the politics an business went.

    14. This book chonicles not only the Trancontinental Railroad building but also various other railroading efforts and has touches of what travel was like on these lines for both the wealthy and the poor. Interesting and fun history that sometimes takes you right there.

    15. Largely negative and critical account of the building of America's railroads, revealing the financial cheating, political corruption, and general mismanagement that led to their completion.

    16. Slow starting book but learned much on the history of the railroads in the USA and how the taxpayers overpaid and the politicians and Railroad companies profited.

    17. Dowdy title, but the writing is breezy and irreverent. Tells it like it was. Think Howard Zinn, only this guy isn't a total idiot.

    18. I read this book because I am now in Kansas and we have railroad routes all over the state. We have tracks and we are on the delivery route of many things. When first founded we were a stopping point for cattle going to Dodge City. In Dodge City they get the cattle and have a lot of rail tracks there.

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