“Riveting. A great read, full of colorful characters and outrageous confrontations back when the west was still wild.” —George R. R. Martin, author of the fantasy novels behind HBO’s epic Game of Thrones — and a lifelong train buff who is redoing the original Santa Fe train into his home city of Santa Fe in high style.
“A book perfectly suited, in its manageable length and rich incidental detail, for the return of mass air and rail travel . . . [It] has so many outlandish characters—tycoons who fall in love with women named Queenie and Baby Doe; murder among the Wall Street predators—that it seems to demand a big-screen treatment complete with a Robert Morley cameo as Oscar Wilde.” —ADAM GOPNIK, The New Yorker
From Simon & Schuster
From the River to the Sea
The Untold Story of the Railroad War that Made the West
Everyone knows the story of America’s first transcontinental, the Pacific Railroad, that was completed with the Golden Spike of 1869. Few know the far more dramatic story of the fight between the Santa Fe and the Rio Grande to become the second transcontinental—vying not just to reach the Pacific, but to develop the enduring towns and cities of the modern west along the way.
The rival railroads were led by a contrasting pair of dynamic train men—one a Civil War hero, the other a corporate titan—who sought sole claim to key mountain passes that often had room only for a single set of tracks. One such route led up Colorado’s Royal Gorge to the world’s richest silver mine in Leadville, two miles high. The contest made for the biggest Railroad War in history with hundreds of train workers turned into armed soldiers backed by local militia and mercenaries like Bat Masterson’s Dodge City rowdies. And it was a fight to the finish. One line ended up creating the modern Los Angeles to become the greatest railroad in the world; the other was left to twirl in a death spiral.
From the River to the Sea is a tale of grand ambition the size of the Rockies, with all the romance of the wide-open west. And it all hangs on the question: who will win?
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