Nothing Like It In The World

Nothing Like It In The World

The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869

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In this account of an unprecedented feat of engineering, vision, and courage, Stephen E. Ambrose offers an historical successor to his universally acclaimed Undaunted Courage.

Nothing Like It in the World is the story of the men who built the transcontinental railroad. In Ambrose's hands, this enterprise comes to life.

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. The surveyors, the men who picked the route, living off buffalo, deer, and antelope.

In building a railroad, there is only one decisive spot -- the end of the track. Nothing like this great work had ever been seen in the world when the last spike, a golden one, was driven in Promontory Peak, Utah, in 1869, as the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific tracks were joined.

Ambrose writes with power and eloquence about 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.
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Book Details:
  • Simon & Schuster Audio | 
  • ISBN 9780743551007 | 
  • August 2000
List Price $73.95
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Chapter One: Picking the Route 1830-1860

August 13, 1859, was a hot day in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The settlement was on the western boundary of the state, just across the Missouri River from the Nebraska village of Omaha. A politician from the neighboring state of Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, went to Concert Hall to make a speech. It attracted a big crowd because of Lincoln's prominence after the previous year's Lincoln-Douglas debates and the keen interest in the following year's presidential election. Lincoln was a full-time politician and a candidate for the Republican nomination for president. The local editor called Lincoln's speech --... see more

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