Iron Rails, Iron Men, and the Race to Link the Nation

The Story of the Transcontinental Railroad
CD - unabridged
Audio (4 discs)
Product Number: BN8192
Released: Sep 08, 2015
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9781491588185
Narrator/s: Grover Gardner
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Please log in to view pricing


Experience the race of rails to link the country-and meet the men behind this incredible feat-in a riveting story about the building of the transcontinental railroad, brought to life with archival photos. In the 1850s, gold fever swept the West, but people had to walk, sail, or ride horses for months on end to seek their fortune. The question of faster, safer transportation was posed by national leaders. But with 1,800 miles of seemingly impenetrable mountains, searing deserts, and endless plains between the Missouri River and San Francisco, could a transcontinental railroad be built? It seemed impossible. Eventually, two railroad companies, the Central Pacific, which laid the tracks eastward, and the Union Pacific, which moved west, began the job. In one great race between iron men with iron wills, tens of thousands of workers blasted the longest tunnels that had ever been constructed, built the highest bridges that had ever been created, and finally linked the nation by two bands of steel, changing America forever.

Professional reviews

"Narrator Grover Gardner is an unobtrusive narrator. That's not to say he sounds disinterested. Quite the opposite. He's clearly fascinated by the drama of the race between the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific railroads to connect the nation. But his understated style lets the story itself carry listeners along. With steady pacing, Gardner mirrors the relentless rate of the six-year undertaking. He uses pauses and emphasis to call attention to important people--from Leland Stanford to the single woman on the entire project--as well as to specifics such as the discrimination against Chinese workers, the confrontations with Native Americans, and the solutions to thorny technical problems such as how to drill rock away on a narrow ledge. An epilogue details the subsequent lives of the key players of the transcontinental railroad. A.R. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine"