Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1996. Presumed First Edition, First printing. Hardcover. xii, 403,  pages. Illustrations. Notes. A Note on Sources. Index. How the railroads transformed American life between 1829 and 1929, and why the cost of their achievements was so damaging to the social and economic life of the nation. A quite wonderful book...richly textured and intellectually stimulating.--Elizabeth Blackmar, Columbia University. Selected by Choice as an outstanding book for 1997. The first part of the book is on Union Through Expansion, 1829-1861. Part Two is From Local Control to National Purpose, 1861-1890. The third and final part is An Urban and Commercial Union, 1890-1929. Sarah Gordon is a professor in the History department at Quinnipiac University. She has written extensively on nineteenth-century American social history. Exploring the social, economic, and legal impact of the growth of the railroads, Sarah Gordon has written a richly informed narrative history of an American icon with surprising conclusions. Where the railroads and their entrepreneurs are ordinarily celebrated for drawing together the vast geographical reaches of the union, Ms. Gordon finds that this accomplishment was achieved at high cost. Conflicts of interest at local, state, and regional levels characterized railroad growth at every stage. Despite the stated aims of government and the railroad corporations to promote settlement and commerce, Ms. Gordon explains, the states lost control and lost the economic benefits of the roads that ran through them. Smaller towns withered as people and money flowed to larger cities. By 1900 the union that had emerged reflected the worst fears of railroad critics. The South and West had been settled, but wealth had become so concentrated in cities that rural life had lost its attraction. Drawing from a wide variety of sources, including literature, diaries, and memoirs, Sarah Gordon has constructed an absorbing story of apparent triumph and real loss. Condition: Very good / Very good.
Keywords: Railroads, Economic Development, Social Conditions, Passenger Trains, Freight Trains, Migration, Locomotives, Regulations, Public Transportation, Right-of-Way, Land Use, Immigrants, Laborers