A new paperback book, published in late 2014, takes a look at the history of railroad expansion into the American West. Iron Horses: America’s Race to Bring the Railroads West, by Walter R. Borneman, examines that history from the mid-19th century to the early 20th.
Image – Amazon.com
Borneman divides his book, first published as a hardcover in 2010, into three major sections: “Opening Gambits (1853-1874)”, “Contested Empire (1874-1889)”, and “Sante Fe All the way (1889-1909)”. He then concludes the book with some thoughts about US railroads in the 21st century. One of the major ideas that Iron Horses examines is creation of the route connecting Chicago to Los Angeles thru the American Southwest.
Borneman declares that completion of the first transcontinental railroad by the Union Pacific and Central Pacific in 1869, currently being dramatized by the AMC series Hell on Wheels, was only the start of a larger race for control of railroads throughout the West. Would-be tycoons sought a route south of that first cross-country line that would be shorter, have less snow, and could be run over a flatter grade to connect Chicago and Los Angeles. Borneman argues that southwest line would be the most important of all the transcontinental railroads.
Iron Horses: America’s Race to Bring the Railroads West (paperback) is published by Back Bay Books and runs a length of 448 pages with a number of maps included. It is available thru various book retailers.
(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)