Blumberg, Rhoda. Full Steam Ahead: the Race to Build a Transcontinental Railroad. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 1996.
Reason read: February is Train Month.
The greed of gold brought out the best and worst in businessmen. Entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to cash in on the craze. For Theodore Judah he saw the need for a transcontinental railroad, not to transport passengers but supplies to the miners and merchants who supported them. Abraham Lincoln climbed aboard the idea of a transcontinental railroad because he envisioned the transportation of troops and supplies. Central Pacific Railroad started laying tracks west. Union Pacific starting laying tracks west. And the race was on.
Blumberg paints the historical picture of the birth of the transcontinental railroad in broad strokes. Written for young adults, she steamrolls through the Chinese labor used to build the railroad, the blasting of the mountains that stood in their way, conquering the arid desert, the conflict with the “wild” Indians, even the slaughter of buffalo, until she reaches the grand conclusion of the last spike celebration.
Author fact: Blumberg has written several books on historical events, but Full Steam Ahead is the only one I am reading.
Book trivia: Full Steam Ahead is meant for young adults so there are plenty of amazing photographs and illustrations. I appreciated the portraits and the political cartoon.
Nancy said: Pearl said a great way to learn about most things is to “read a really great children’s book on the subject” (p 200) and she listed Blumberg for learning about the transcontinental railroad.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Riding the Rails: Railroad History” (p 200).