This richly comprehensive history by a self-proclaimed “low-brow” historian features more than 100 photographs and contemporary prints of America's railway system. Stewart H. Holbrook presents a dramatic, highly readable chronicle of the development of the backbone of the country's commerce and industry. Abounding in episodes of ingenuity and achievement, the growth of the railway system required constant improvements in techniques, devices, and machines, from the first wood burner that traveled on wooden rails to modern streamliners and diesel-powered giants. In addition to technological innovations, the colossal enterprise required courage and resolve to battle challenges posed by nature as well as by political maneuvering and corruption. This fascinating survey draws upon many hitherto unknown original sources and new data, in addition to firsthand accounts from hundreds of brakemen, conductors, engineers, and other railroad employees. Sound and authoritative, it constitutes a definitive history of America's railroads.