Sunset Limited: The Southern Pacific Railroad and the Development of the American West, 1850-1930
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Sunset Limited: The Southern Pacific Railroad and the Development of the American West, 1850-1930

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  21 ratings  ·  5 reviews
The only major U.S. railroad to be operated by westerners and the only railroad built from west to east, the Southern Pacific acquired a unique history and character. It also acquired a reputation, especially in California, as a railroad that people loved to hate. This magisterial history tells the full story of the Southern Pacific for the first time, shattering myths abo...more
Hardcover, 637 pages
Published May 16th 2005 by University of California Press
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 43)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Frank Stein
An impressive though certainly overly comprehensive rejoinder to the typical progressive, railroad-bashing tomes that litter modern history libraries.

Unlike most historians, Orsi is a rabid railfan, thoroughly enamored of the majesty and accomplishments of the 19th century railroads, and he brings his enthusiasm for rails and California history to this presentation of the Southern Pacific Railroad during its glory days, when this now forgotten company was the largest transportation concern on th...more
"The railroad's founders and most of its later top executives and, importantly, its middle-level managers were Californians, often long-time residents. With remarkable tenure in their positions, these men identified their company's interests with those of their home state, its economic, social, and cultural development, and secondarily with the larger West." (21)

"[T]he railway developed a land-management and sales program aimed primarily at building traffic for its lines, and from the start adop...more
This actually could have been a three star review, but I have to give credit to the thuroughness of the scholarship, the excellent photographs and the superb 200+ end notes, which are a mini-book in themselves.

Orsi's book is "revisionist" if it is proper to call a thesis that glorifies a massive American corporation "revisionist". I suppose that it qualifies if one is taking the scholarship of major American and French universities from the sixties onward as the standard.

Simply put, Orsi's goa...more
The Southern Pacific was one of the best of the Guilded Age railroads and it pioneered many aspects of modern American business. It spanned from the Gulf of Mexico in Texas across New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Nevada, and Utah. Sadly this book is California-centric with no concentration on operations in other states. It didn't even mention the regularity of train robbings east of Tucson and how the railroad dealt with it. Sections dealing with the Salton Sea and Pacific Fruit Express...more
This is Southern Pacific's side of the railroad's development. Portrays Theodore Judah as being a poor manager (still, he was a guide surveyor and political promoter)
Garn marked it as to-read
May 08, 2014
Shannon marked it as to-read
Jan 22, 2014
Jed marked it as to-read
Jan 02, 2014
Susan Marino
Susan Marino is currently reading it
Dec 30, 2013
Alan marked it as to-read
Dec 25, 2013
Baco marked it as to-read
Dec 22, 2013
Grok Testuser
Grok Testuser is currently reading it
Dec 17, 2013
Lisa marked it as to-read
Nov 07, 2013
Michael marked it as to-read
Jul 22, 2013
James Roman
James Roman is currently reading it
Jul 07, 2013
Ty Keith
Ty Keith is currently reading it
Feb 18, 2013
Matthew Roberts
Matthew Roberts is currently reading it
Dec 20, 2012
Andrew is currently reading it
May 22, 2012
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Yosemite and Sequoia: A Century of California National Parks Contested Eden: California Before the Gold Rush Sunset Limited: The Southern Pacific Railroad and the Development of the American West, 1850-1930 Yosemite and Sequoia: A Century of California National Parks The Elusive Eden: A New History of California

Share This Book