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Nothing Like It In The World

Nothing Like It In The World

The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869

Nothing Like It in the World gives 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. Locomotives, rails, and spikes were shipped from the East through Panama or around South America to the West or lugged across the country to the Plains. In Ambrose's hands, this enterprise, with its huge expenditure of brainpower, muscle, and sweat, comes vibrantly to life.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 432 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743203173 | 
  • November 2001
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Read an Excerpt

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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We humansengineersome incrediblestuff! From improving how we move peopleand productsfrom here to there, to harnessing our waters and winds, to space travel and some awfully devastating weapons,these nine books demonstrateour determination to...

About the Author

Stephen E. Ambrose
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Stephen E. Ambrose

Dr. Stephen E. Ambrose was a renowned historian and acclaimed author of more than thirty books. Among his New York Times bestsellers are Nothing Like It in the World, Citizen Soldiers, Band of Brothers, D-Day - June 6, 1944, and Undaunted Courage. Dr. Ambrose was a retired Boyd Professor of History at the University of New Orleans and a contributing editor for the Quarterly Journal of Military History.

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