Overnight settlements, better known as "Hell on Wheels," sprang up as the transcontinental railroad crossed Nebraska and Wyoming. They brought opportunity not only for legitimate business but also for gamblers, land speculators, prostitutes, and thugs. Dick Kreck tells their stories along with the heroic individuals who managed, finally, to create permanent towns in the interior West.
Author: David Haward Bain
Release Date: 2000-09-01
After the Civil War, the building of the transcontinental railroad was the nineteenth century's most transformative event. Beginning in 1842 with a visionary's dream to span the continent with twin bands of iron, Empire Express captures three dramatic decades in which the United States effectively doubled in size, fought three wars, and began to discover a new national identity. From self--made entrepreneurs such as the Union Pacific's Thomas Durant and era--defining figures such as President Lincoln to the thousands of laborers whose backbreaking work made the railroad possible, this extraordinary narrative summons an astonishing array of voices to give new dimension not only to this epic endeavor but also to the culture, political struggles, and social conflicts of an unforgettable period in American history.
Author: John Hoyt Williams
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
Release Date: 1996
The Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads were officially joined on May 10, 1869 at Promontory Point, Utah, with the driving of a golden spike. This historic ceremony marked the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. Spanning the Sierras and the “Great American Desert,” the tracks connected San Francisco to Council Bluffs, Iowa. A Great and Shining Road is the exciting story of a mammoth feat that called forth entrepreneurial daring, financial wizardry, technological innovation, political courage and chicanery, and the heroism of thousands of laborers.
Author: Martin W. Sandler
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: 2015-09-08
Genre: Juvenile Nonfiction
In the 1850s, gold fever swept the West, but people had to walk, sail, or ride horses for months on end to seek their fortune. The question of faster, safer transportation was posed by national leaders. But with 1,800 miles of seemingly impenetrable mountains, searing deserts, and endless plains between the Missouri River and San Francisco, could a transcontinental railroad be built? It seemed impossible. Eventually, two railroad companies, the Central Pacific, which laid the tracks eastward, and the Union Pacific, which moved west, began the job. In one great race between iron men with iron wills, tens of thousands of workers blasted the longest tunnels that had ever been constructed, built the highest bridges that had ever been created, and finally linked the nation by two bands of steel, changing America forever.
On May 24, 1911, one of the most notorious murders in Denver's history occurred. The riveting tale involves high society, adultery, drugs, multiple murder, and more, all set in Denver's grand old hotel, the Brown Palace.
Author: Larry K. Brown
Release Date: 2001
Genre: Social Science
Historian Larry Brown once again uses his incredible research skills to bring the Old West to life. In this third volume of Brown's territorial crime series, he introduces us to the twenty-three women who served time in Old Wyoming's penitentiary. What did these women, wearing frills, lace, and their best bonnets for their mug shots, do to deserve time behind bars? Anna Bruce baked poison into her father's plum pie; Anna Trout abandoned her grandson in a train depot; Stella Gatlin found her kleptomania didn't mix with her work as a postmaster; Eliza "Big Jack" Stewart shot a man in the neck at a dance. The photographs in this book alone make it worth the price.
From one of the most beloved Western authors comes an epic historical tale of adventure and romance in the great wilderness. Against the epic backdrop of the building of the Union Pacific Railroad across plains and deserts and through the mountains to meet up with the Southern Pacific in Utah comes a sprawling, historical tale. Warren Neale is a brilliant civil engineer who is constantly confronted with construction problems. He is sided by Larry Red King, a Texas gunfighter and friend. Allie Lee, who is heading east from California on a wagon train, is the sole survivor of an Indian raid in the Black Hills. Neale and a small company of US cavalry find Allie hidden at the scene and nearly out of her mind in terror. Al Slingerland, a trapper and buffalo hunter, has a cabin in a nearby valley, and Allie is taken there to recover. Benton is the wild town set up overnight to service the vices of the multitude of railroad workers. The only law is that which the soldiers impose, but their concern is not really in enforcing law in Benton, but in protecting the men laying the tracks and the supply trains. In addition to the natural obstacles that impede the building of the Union Pacific, workers must contend with the equally great weight of constant graft and corruption, against which Larry Red King's guns can afford no protection. In this magnificent panorama of constant danger and adventure, the many lives involved, including ruthless gamblers and women of the evening, and the slow but monumental progress of the laying of the track through the wilderness, Zane Grey vividly brings to life a lost time and society in a grand novel, now published as he had first written it.
Author: William Wyckoff
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Release Date: 2014-06-05
From deserts to ghost towns, from national forests to California bungalows, many of the features of the western American landscape are well known to residents and travelers alike. But in How to Read the American West, William Wyckoff introduces readers anew to these familiar landscapes. A geographer and an accomplished photographer, Wyckoff offers a fresh perspective on the natural and human history of the American West and encourages readers to discover that history has shaped the places where people live, work, and visit. This innovative field guide includes stories, photographs, maps, and diagrams on a hundred landscape features across the American West. Features are grouped according to type, such as natural landscapes, farms and ranches, places of special cultural identity, and cities and suburbs. Unlike the geographic organization of a traditional guidebook, Wyckoff's field guide draws attention to the connections and the differences between and among places. Emphasizing features that recur from one part of the region to another, the guide takes readers on an exploration of the eleven western states with trips into their natural and cultural character. How to Read the American West is an ideal traveling companion on the main roads and byways in the West, providing unexpected insights into the landscapes you see out your car window. It is also a wonderful source for armchair travelers and people who live in the West who want to learn more about the modern West, how it came to be, and how it may change in the years to come. Showcasing the everyday alongside the exceptional, Wyckoff demonstrates how asking new questions about the landscapes of the West can let us see our surroundings more clearly, helping us make informed and thoughtful decisions about their stewardship in the twenty-first century. Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYSmp5gZ4-I
These fourteen essays reflect the increasingly interdisciplinary character of Russian literature research in general and of the study of Gogol in particular, focusing on specific works, Gogol's own character, and the various approaches to aesthetic, religious, and philosophical issues raised by his writing.
Full Body Burden is a haunting work of narrative nonfiction about a young woman, Kristen Iversen, growing up in a small Colorado town close to Rocky Flats, a secret nuclear weapons plant once designated "the most contaminated site in America." It's the story of a childhood and adolescence in the shadow of the Cold War, in a landscape at once startlingly beautiful and--unknown to those who lived there--tainted with invisible yet deadly particles of plutonium. It's also a book about the destructive power of secrets--both family and government. Her father's hidden liquor bottles, the strange cancers in children in the neighborhood, the truth about what was made at Rocky Flats (cleaning supplies, her mother guessed)--best not to inquire too deeply into any of it. But as Iversen grew older, she began to ask questions. She learned about the infamous 1969 Mother's Day fire, in which a few scraps of plutonium spontaneously ignited and--despite the desperate efforts of firefighters--came perilously close to a "criticality," the deadly blue flash that signals a nuclear chain reaction. Intense heat and radiation almost melted the roof, which nearly resulted in an explosion that would have had devastating consequences for the entire Denver metro area. Yet the only mention of the fire was on page 28 of the Rocky Mountain News, underneath a photo of the Pet of the Week. In her early thirties, Iversen even worked at Rocky Flats for a time, typing up memos in which accidents were always called "incidents." And as this memoir unfolds, it reveals itself as a brilliant work of investigative journalism--a detailed and shocking account of the government's sustained attempt to conceal the effects of the toxic and radioactive waste released by Rocky Flats, and of local residents' vain attempts to seek justice in court. Here, too, are vivid portraits of former Rocky Flats workers--from the healthy, who regard their work at the plant with pride and patriotism, to the ill or dying, who battle for compensation for cancers they got on the job. Based on extensive interviews, FBI and EPA documents, and class-action testimony, this taut, beautifully written book promises to have a very long half-life.