Building The Country (And Unbelievable Wealth): The Railroad Barons
It's hard to believe that California and Oregon became states 20 and 10 years, respectively, before railroads tied the country together.
The driving of the Golden Spike in 1869 was a beginning, not an end. Railroads only continued to grow in importance, and power, and ruthlessness.
Michael Hiltzik, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist at the Los Angeles Times, takes up the story of railroads in the four decades after the Golden Spike, in Iron Empires: Robber Barons, Railroads, and the Making of Modern America.
People and goods got moved, and the people in charge got rich. But a lot of abuses took place as well. We visit with the author.