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Getting There: The Epic Struggle between Road and Rail in the American Century
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Getting There: The Epic Struggle between Road and Rail in the American Century

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  33 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
"A readable and concise overview of how U.S. transportation came to its present pass. . . . Goddard is at his best when recounting the complex and interesting history of what has come to be called 'the highway lobby.'. . . An excellent book for the general reader with an interest in getting around."—Larry Fish, Philadelphia Inquirer

"This is a riveting story: of mighty rail
Paperback, 366 pages
Published November 15th 1996 by University Of Chicago Press (first published June 1994)
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A high-level overview of more than a hundred years of transportation policy, written in clear if not particularly enthralling prose. This isn't the place to go for in-depth examination of any particular developments or individuals--given the scope, it couldn't be--but it's solid background reading that I think will help put future books into context for me.

I do wish Goddard had spent slightly more time looking at how racial inequalities and transportation policy intersect; while he does address
egardless of the status of George Washington, Napoleon Bonaparte, and William Pitt, each man of power traveled at the same speed as the people they governed: no faster than a running horse. But in the early-mid 19th century, the industrial revolution began producing modes of transportation that would shrink continents, reducing journeys of months into a solitary week. Trains first shriveled the distance and their spans allowed for unprecedented economic growth. That growth produced rail's first ...more
The railroads were tied up in bureaucracy and price controls after the Interstate Commerce Commission was given more power in the early 1900s. This was bad enough, but worse, the automobile was becoming popular about the same time. Furthermore, from about 1916 roads got federal funding, which meant that truckers got a subsidized pathway while railroads, electric trolleys and electric interurban trains (a sort of souped up trolley, apparently) had to pay for their own infrastructure. Furthermore, ...more
Dec 27, 2009 Greg rated it really liked it
Good history of American public policy decisions to build public roads to fight the railroad monopoly, which has wound up making a whole other basket of public policy pickles as the system matured, congested, aged and developed its own special interest groups. The author's "what could happen next" are very interesting to read as the book was written in 1994.
Joe Plummer
Nov 20, 2011 Joe Plummer rated it liked it
Goddard gives a detailed yet readable history of transport in the US. I give it only three stars as the last few chapters seemed to drag on a bit.
May 07, 2010 mcburton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
really awesome history of the transportation industrial complex in the US. Why do americans love cars? Why do the railroads suck in the US? find the answers in this book.
Nov 30, 2008 Donna rated it really liked it
Fascinating historical perspective of early commercial speculators influencing the growth of Railroads and the economy in America. Many parallels to today's recent greed fest on wall street.
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I never got there.
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