The men who imagined the transcontinental railroad were impassioned profiteers, an unlikely, often ruthless band, guilty of both financial double-dealing and ferocious ingenuity. When ice delayed operations in the Sierra Nevadas, the men of the Central Pacific formed the Summit Ice Company and sold their problem to California saloons. When herds of buffalo ripped up the tracks, the men of the Union Pacific brutally slaughtered tens of thousands of them. (Thus the legend of Buffalo Bill was born.) While his partners finagled in Washington and on Wall Street, Jack Casement, a former Union general, dressed in a fur coat, a Cossack hat, and shining cavalry boots and carrying a pistol and a bullwhip, drove the workers of the Union Pacific to new track-laying records. Meanwhile, from the West, thousands of Chinese immigrants blasted, climbed, and inched their way through the perilous California mountains.
The railroad transformed the country forever. It decimated the Plains Indian culture by destroying the herds of buffalo that sustained it. It augmented the timber and steel industries; it opened up the West for commerce. Farms grew up along the length of the rails. Thousands of immigrants from Asia and Europe came here to build the iron road. Most important, it united a nation.
The story of the railroad is capitalist theater, starring powerful politicians and generals and con artists. Set in opulent parlor cars, well-heeled boardrooms, and rowdy frontier towns, on desolate plains and deadly gorges, it is a story of vision and corruption, of empire building at its most vulgar and glorious.
John Williams combines scholarship with personalities, historical analysis with plain old tall tales, to tell a story that will appeal to readers of American history and adventure and to lovers of the American West. The Transcontinental Railroad is an epic of every sense.
The first great Liverpool manager, Tom Watson, piloted the club to its first league championships in 1901 and 1906 before taking the club to the FA Cup final in 1914. Watson and the key members of those early Liverpool teams are analysed in depth, as is the role of the club and its fans in the city as Merseyside balanced self-improvement and cosmopolitanism with almost unimaginable problems of poverty.
Liverpool secured consecutive league titles in 1922 and 1923 with the incomparable goalkeeper Elisha Scott as its totemic star and the darling of the Kop. In the '20s, Liverpool was also the first British club to internationalise its playing staff.
The club's next league title came in 1947, but, in the bleak '50s, the Liverpool board ruled with an iron fist and controlled the purse strings - until Bill Shankly arrived and won that elusive first FA Cup in 1965. The recent tragedies that have shaped the club's contemporary identity are also covered here, as are the new Continental influences at Liverpool and, of course, the glory of Istanbul in 2005.
Red Men is the definitive history of a remarkable football club from its formation in 1892 to the present day, told in the wider context of the social and cultural development of the city of Liverpool and its people.