This summer, I've embarked on an ambitious reading campaign, mainly aimed at consuming spare time and increasing my exposure to material outside of my engineering vocation. So, far, I'm averaging a book a week, with the latest victim being Stephen Ambrose's Nothing Like It In the World : The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869.
I found it an enjoyable read. As its title would indicate, the book tells the story of the American Transcontinental Railroad, from conception to completion. Although he does get into the business aspects of building the railroad, Ambrose focuses mainly on how the men actually built the road, the logistics behind organizing and funding a vast labor army and of conquering imposing mountain ranges. He tells the story as it was seen from the men laying the track at the end of the line, from the Irish and Chinese immigrants, to the Mormon workers near Salt Lake.
Like most of Ambrose's work, I found the book well researched and easy to read. At almost 400 pages, Nothing Like It In the World can be a bit lengthy for some, and I got bogged down a couple of times wondering when the workers would just finish the railroad. The feeling didn't last long, and overall, I enjoyed learning a bit more about this fascinating piece of American history. After finishing the book, I figure it's time for another visit to the Golden Spike National Historic Site.
2 months ago