From the River to the Sea: The Untold Story of the Railroad War That Made the West

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“Riveting...A great read, full of colorful characters and outrageous confrontations back when the west was still wild.” —George R.R. Martin

A propulsive and panoramic history of one of the most dramatic stories never told—the greatest railroad war of all time, fought by the daring leaders of the Santa Fe and the Rio Grande to seize, control, and create the American West.

It is difficult to imagine now, but for all its gorgeous scenery, the American West might have been barren tundra as far as most Americans knew well into the 19th century. While the West was advertised as a paradise on earth to citizens in the East and Midwest, many believed the journey too hazardous to be worthwhile—until 1869, when the first transcontinental railroad changed the face of transportation.

Railroad companies soon became the rulers of western expansion, choosing routes, creating brand-new railroad towns, and building up remote settlements like Santa Fe, Albuquerque, San Diego, and El Paso into proper cities. But thinning federal grants left the routes incomplete, an opportunity that two brash new railroad men, armed with private investments and determination to build an empire across the Southwest clear to the Pacific, soon seized, leading to the greatest railroad war in American history.

In From the River to the Sea, bestselling author John Sedgwick recounts, in vivid and thrilling detail, the decade-long fight between General William J. Palmer, the Civil War hero leading the “little family” of his Rio Grande, and William Barstow Strong, the hard-nosed manager of the corporate-minded Santa Fe. What begins as an accidental rivalry when the two lines cross in Colorado soon evolves into an all-out battle as each man tries to outdo the other—claiming exclusive routes through mountains, narrow passes, and the richest silver mines in the world; enlisting private armies to protect their land and lawyers to find loopholes; dispatching spies to gain information; and even using the power of the press and incurring the wrath of the God-like Robber Baron Jay Gould—to emerge victorious. By the end of the century, one man will fade into anonymity and disgrace. The other will achieve unparalleled success—and in the process, transform a sleepy backwater of thirty thousand called “Los Angeles” into a booming metropolis that will forever change the United States.

Filled with colorful characters and high drama, told at the speed of a locomotive, From the River to the Sea is an unforgettable piece of American history “that seems to demand a big-screen treatment” (The New Yorker).
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About the author

John Sedgwick is the bestselling author of Blood Moon: An American Epic of War and Splendor in the Cherokee Nation, and twelve other books: four works of literary nonfiction, two novels, a family memoir, and five collaborations. He has also written extensively for The Atlantic, GQ, Newsweek, Esquire, and Vanity Fair. He is married to the CNN analyst and Financial Times columnist Rana Foroohar, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Seller
Google LLC as agent for Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Jun 1, 2021
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9781982104306
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / 19th Century
Technology & Engineering / History
Transportation / Railroads / History
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Content protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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