Railroads Triumphant: The Growth, Rejection, and Rebirth of a Vital American Force

Albro Martin, Author Oxford University Press, USA $99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-19-503853-8
As his title suggests, Martin ( Enterprise Denied ) here writes a highly upbeat history of railroads in the U.S. before driving home a gold spike for their future. Starting in 1828 with the formation of the Baltimore & Ohio, the author sets out to answer what he calls ``the Grand Paradox,'' or why, with all its potential, the railroad fell on such hard times after WW II. Sprinkling anecdotes throughout, Martin details the early years of invention and then, after the Civil War, glory and profit. The railroad created such cities as Chicago and Atlanta, helped to mold management organization and abetted the growth of the telegraph in addition to playing a key role in the development of the steel and coal industries. Last century's Credit Mobilier scandal pales, in Martin's eyes, beside today's villains--politics, over-regulation and greedy unions. For history buffs, this long ride is essential, if inconclusive. Photos not seen by PW. History Book Club main selection. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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