Michael's Reviews > Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America
Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America
by Richard White
by Richard White
Oct 17, 11
Read from September 15 to October 17, 2011
Richard White questions the building of the transcontinentals and the men who headed these massive 19th century corporations. Titans of the "Gilded Age," the transcontinentals proved to be extremely efficient at being inefficient. The railroad men prove to be rather lousy businessmen, and their corporations constantly need government assistance to bail them out of trouble. Whether it is receivership, lack of demand, or labor strikes, the government was always there to help these failing enterprises. White shows that with the development of the transcontinentals we have the development of many modern facets of the economy, e.g. the lobby. Politics was economized by the railroad corporations, and the result was disastrous. White very methodically dismantles the romanticized version of the railroads helping the U.S. conquer the west; it turns out that these Modern Mechanized Marvels were built ahead of demand, without the proper capital, and when there was no need, and that the public hated them for it. White does not argue that there would never have been western railroads (or transcontinentals), his argument is that they would have never have been built as they were (when there was simply no demand for them) without the government subsidizing them and protecting their interest.
Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Railroaded.sign in »