Gregory Crouch grew up in Goleta, California, and graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, with a military history field of study. He completed US Army Airborne and Ranger schools and served as an infantry officer. For five years, he was a senior contributing editor at Climbing, where he focused on writing personality profiles of famous climbers. The author of The Bonanza King, he lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Harpster traces the life of Ogden from his early experiences as a boy and young businessman in upstate New York to his migration to Chicago, where he invested in land, canal construction, and steamboat companies. He became Chicago’s first mayor, built the city’s first railway system, and suffered through the Great Chicago Fire. His diverse business interests included real estate, land development, city planning, urban transportation, manufacturing, beer brewing, mining, and banking, to name a few. Harpster, however, does not simply focus on Ogden’s role as business mogul; he delves into the heart and soul of the man himself.
The Railroad Tycoon Who Built Chicago is a meticulously researched and nuanced biography set against the backdrop of the historical and societal themes of the nineteenth century. It is a sweeping story about one man’s impact on the birth of commerce in America. Ogden’s private life proves to be as varied and interesting as his public persona, and Harpster weaves the two into a colorful tapestry of a life well and usefully lived.
The one-room school, the general store, the trips by wagon over roads that choked you in summer and swallowed you in winter, the home that burned: all are described in a matter-of-fact yet moving way. Many of the locations, buildings, and people are represented in equally unromanticized photographs from the family's collection. Some of the stories and photos recall the common disasters of the frontier: drought, flood, and the tornado of 1925.
It is clear from these stories that each aspect of life exacted a price, but the Caraways paid that price without regret and rallied to go on their way. Charless and his family and friends fill this book with courage, strength, and an unshakable faith in the value of human endeavor.
In The Last Road Rebel, he shares what it was like growing up in that small town. In this memoir, Gilberg admits he is probably lucky to have survived his childhood; some of his friends did not. He is also lucky to have met the right girl at the right time who unknowingly gave him the push needed for him to climb out of an early life with a limited future. The storiessome hilarious, some horribly sad, and some just funtell of a young person who experienced the tortures of found and lost teen love, knew the disappointment of poor preparation for life after school, and finally looked himself in the mirror and decided it was time to get out of that place.
Against the backdrop of the times, when the sounds on the radio were changing from Perry Como and Patti Page to Bill Haley and the Comets, Elvis, and Little Richard, The Last Road Rebel recalls the times, places, people, events, and experiences that have stayed with Gilberg forever.