Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Kindle Price: £7.49

Save £2.50 (25%)

includes VAT*
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

These promotions will be applied to this item:

Some promotions may be combined; others are not eligible to be combined with other offers. For details, please see the Terms & Conditions associated with these promotions.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

The Great Railway Revolution: The Epic Story of the American Railroad by [Wolmar, Christian]
Kindle App Ad

The Great Railway Revolution: The Epic Story of the American Railroad Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
£7.49

Length: 336 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

Kindle Books from 99p
Load up your Kindle library before your next holiday -- browse over 500 Kindle Books on sale from 99p until 31 August, 2016. Shop now

Product Description

Review

A passionate and masterly history -- James McConnachie Sunday Times Christian Wolmar is in love with railways. He writes constantly and passionately about them. He is their wisest, most detailed historian... Wolmar doesn't have to invent the romance of the railways. That romance is clear on page after page of wonderful storytelling... If you love the hum of wheels and of history, Christian Wolmar is your man -- Peter Preston Observer

About the Author

Christian Wolmar is Britain's foremost writer and broadcaster on transport matters. He writes regularly for a wide variety of publications including the Independent, Evening Standard and Rail magazine, and appears frequently on TV and radio as a commentator. His previous books include the widely-acclaimed The Subterranean Railway, Fire and Steam, Blood, Iron and Gold and Engines of War.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3456 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; Main edition (10 May 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A25OJVE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #138,254 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images or tell us about a lower price?


Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Christian Wolmar is an expert on the railways but is also, first and foremost, a very good writer, who is able to bend what might be dry and technical material into an entertaining narrative, in which the technicalities are subservient to the story, and history is enlivened with many vignettes and anecdotes.

This is the case with his previous railway history books, but in his latest he has excelled himself. The book is a compelling read, offering as it does a whole series of insights into two hundred years or so of United States' history, both economic and social. The close links between America and Britain were no closer than in the development of the railways in both countries, and he shows what these links meant but also contrasts the differences in how two major transport systems developed. He shows how in many respects the railways made the two countries into what they were, at least until the time of the railway heyday on both sides of the Atlantic. He also entertainingly shows how differences between the two systems (especially in the treatment of passengers) were emblematic of the two diverging cultures.

In contrast to Europe, the US railroads developed in an almost totally haphazard way, reflecting in part the reluctance of government to intervene but showing how judicious intervention might have benefitted everyone. To some extent this happened in the civil war, and Wolmar shows what a crucial role the railways played in it. His chapter on the scandals and achievements of the first transcontinental railway is also particularly entertaining.

To enjoy this book you don't need to be a railway buff although they, of course, will enjoy it too.
Comment 30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Christian Wolmar's latest railway book is the best yet. The complex story of the creation, development and decline of the American national railway network is a vital but sad story. Wolmar's ability to cut through the chaff to find the seminal moments, quotations and documents that defined the magnitude and social impacts of the almost wholly-private railway system is engaging. The narrative has benefited from his journalistic style and incisiveness. Earlier books on the subject are, by comparison, just too detailed to provide the political and social trends that Wolmar has successfully perceived.
Who can imagine that the American railway network could have been un-ready for both world wars of the last century due to lack of government understanding of the system's legislative and financial needs and inter-state commercial restrictions? Who can imagine the present need to create another railway network for high-speed passenger trains where so many rights of way had existed between the larger cities, albeit unfenced?
Wolmar has provided useful comparisons between American and UK/European railway networks so that the sheer scale of the American system can be appreciated.
He provides a series of interesting digressions like his description of the demise of the inter-urban street-car lines exemplifying, as it did, the struggle between the growth of motor traffic and the use of railways and a cameo appearance of Robert Louis Stevenson travelling on the Transcontinental.
I hope that Wolmar will, in the future, provide an analysis of the Chinese Railway network.
This has been a great read and should be part of any serious railway library.
Comment 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a VERY readable history of railways in the USA. The author also devotes a substantial amount of space to the social and historical background. Of particular interest to this reviewer was the detailed description of the damage inflicted on the railways by government regulators on one hand, and by the trade unions on the other.

The book is clearly aimed at the British reader, with numerous comparisons between the ways things were done in the UK and the USA. References to developments in other European countries are also provided. To the reviewer's regret technical details of steam engines, signalling &c are not covered in this book.

All in all, it's a thoroughly enjoyable, well-written and educational book.
Comment 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
A couple of years ago I enjoyed the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad museum: lots to see including a monstrous `Allegheny' 2-6-6-6. Knowing nothing about US railroad history I tried a big bookstore hoping to find a Christian Wolmar-type volume on the subject. That means coverage of the politics, economics, business, civil engineering and historical context - and not much O S Nock-ish minutiae about superheater tubes and suchlike. Nothing doing but soon afterwards exactly what I needed appeared as `The Great Railway Revolution'. The subject must be vast, but Wolmar selects and paces the story to give an enjoyable and right-length read. Endnotes and a bibliography make the book feel rigorous without being too scholarly. Recommended.
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It would be hard not to find this book (or subject) interesting: historically, geographically, politically, commercially and technologically. But do not expect a light read. The book is detailed and entailed considerable research.

We meet people such as Charles Dickens and Abraham Lincoln and learn about the great importance of railways in the Civil War: "the world's first railway war". I was not fully aware of the disruption caused by the railroads to the Native American way of life, and certainly not aware of the remarkable degree of corruption and the resultant inefficiencies and expense involved in building the railways to and from the Pacific. The celebrations surrounding the completion of the link seem to have been quite something but it took some time for it to be greatly utilised.

The background to the development of the of the Pacific railways is interesting in various respects. They would not succeed unless the routes were populated and so major efforts were made to attract immigrants, including inaccurate weather forecasting (still with us today!). The phrases "Wild West", "How the West was won" and "Go West, young man" are placed in context (as is "Cowboys and Indians"). The book also highlights the many safety hazards involved in nineteenth century rail travel. The train robbers seem to have acquired Ned Kelly status. There is also an industrial relations backdrop, as in so many fields of employment: exploitation by the employers leading ultimately to powerful unions and uneconomic working practices.

Later we come across railway barons, some with names still famous today, and the advent of luxury travel and long distance journeys with almost cruise-type facilities. But before too long the saga of the sad decline sets in.
Read more ›
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

click to open popover