From the River to the Sea: The Untold Story of the Railroad War That Made the West (Hardcover)

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“Riveting...A great read, full of colorful characters and outrageous confrontations back when the west was still wild.” —George R.R. Martin

A propulsive and panoramic history of one of the most dramatic stories never told—the greatest railroad war of all time, fought by the daring leaders of the Santa Fe and the Rio Grande to seize, control, and create the American West.

It is difficult to imagine now, but for all its gorgeous scenery, the American West might have been barren tundra as far as most Americans knew well into the 19th century. While the West was advertised as a paradise on earth to citizens in the East and Midwest, many believed the journey too hazardous to be worthwhile—until 1869, when the first transcontinental railroad changed the face of transportation.

Railroad companies soon became the rulers of western expansion, choosing routes, creating brand-new railroad towns, and building up remote settlements like Santa Fe, Albuquerque, San Diego, and El Paso into proper cities. But thinning federal grants left the routes incomplete, an opportunity that two brash new railroad men, armed with private investments and determination to build an empire across the Southwest clear to the Pacific, soon seized, leading to the greatest railroad war in American history.

In From the River to the Sea, bestselling author John Sedgwick recounts, in vivid and thrilling detail, the decade-long fight between General William J. Palmer, the Civil War hero leading the “little family” of his Rio Grande, and William Barstow Strong, the hard-nosed manager of the corporate-minded Santa Fe. What begins as an accidental rivalry when the two lines cross in Colorado soon evolves into an all-out battle as each man tries to outdo the other—claiming exclusive routes through mountains, narrow passes, and the richest silver mines in the world; enlisting private armies to protect their land and lawyers to find loopholes; dispatching spies to gain information; and even using the power of the press and incurring the wrath of the God-like Robber Baron Jay Gould—to emerge victorious. By the end of the century, one man will fade into anonymity and disgrace. The other will achieve unparalleled success—and in the process, transform a sleepy backwater of thirty thousand called “Los Angeles” into a booming metropolis that will forever change the United States.

Filled with colorful characters and high drama, told at the speed of a locomotive, From the River to the Sea is an unforgettable piece of American history “that seems to demand a big-screen treatment” (The New Yorker).

About the Author


John Sedgwick is the bestselling author of Blood Moon: An American Epic of War and Splendor in the Cherokee Nation, and twelve other books: four works of literary nonfiction, two novels, a family memoir, and five collaborations.  He has also written extensively for The AtlanticGQ, NewsweekEsquire, and Vanity Fair. He is married to the CNN analyst and Financial Times columnist Rana Foroohar, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Praise For…


PRAISE FOR FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA:

“A riveting account of the railroad wars of the nineteenth century, when the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe battled the Denver and Rio Grande for control of the Raton Pass, New Mexico, Santa Fe (Lamy!), and the road to California and the sea. It’s a great read, full of colorful characters and outrageous confrontations back when the west was still wild.” —George R.R. Martin

"Sedgwick has produced a book perfectly suited, in its manageable length and rich incidental detail, for the return of mass air and rail travel. . . . The book has so many outlandish characters--tycoons who fall in love with women named Queenie and Baby Doe; murder among the Wall Street predators--that it seems to demand a big-screen treatment." —Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

“In From the River to the Sea, John Sedgwick brings his great gifts as an historian and writer to that most American of stories, the creation of the West, through a wildly colorful railroad war involving a host of characters from Oscar Wilde to a vixen named Baby Doe. Readers will be fascinated and enthralled by the level and depth of the greed, chicanery and violence, but also moved by the immense human yearning.” —Evan Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of First: Sandra Day O’Connor
 
“Blessed with a set of characters whose duplicity linked the Old West to the Gilded Age, John Sedgwick tells an engrossing story of the railroad battles of a pair of rivals who had talent enough to overcome a challenging landscape, but not enough to match their ambitions. Their failures make the story that culminates in the creation of modern Los Angeles even more intriguing.” —Richard White, author of Pulitzer Prize finalist Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America

“So this is how the west was really won—a visionary Medal of Honor winning Civil War general wages the battles of the great railroad wars, crosses the great American desert with narrow gauge tracks, defeats his ruthless rival and a posse led by Bat Masterson, creates Colorado Springs, marries the woman of his dreams (of course named Queen), and pulls his Santa Fe railroad into Southern California to create a boom and the rise of the City of Los Angeles. John Sedgwick has written a breathless adventure story, an amazing rip-roaring tale, that glides like the train speeding westward.” —Sidney Blumenthal, bestselling author of All the Powers of Earth: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln

“John Sedgwick’s account of the no-holds-barred race to build a railroad from the Mississippi to the Pacific is a propulsive, panoramic tale filled with enough miners, moguls, shysters, hucksters, sharpshooters, and saloon girls to cast a dozen memorable Westerns. The nonstop action will keep readers riveted, but along the way they’ll learn a good deal about capitalism and the American character, a symbiotic mix of ambition, creativity, and greed that, as Sedgwick observes, we now see playing out, for better and for worse, on the frontiers of Big Tech.” —George Howe Colt, bestselling author of The Game and The Big House

From the River to the Sea is a wild, rollicking, larger-than-life true story from the golden age of American railroad empiring. Here are fortunes won and lost overnight, moguls and gunmen, rascals and visionaries, and the likes of Bat Masterson, Jay Gould, Porfirio Diaz, the Harvey Girls, a woman named Queen, and Oscar Wilde, lowered to the bottom of a silver mine in a bucket. Read it and wonder.” —Kevin Baker, bestselling author of America: The Ingenious and Paradise Alley

From the River to the Sea takes us back 150 years to dramatically and delightfully present an epic struggle between two railroad icons that helped shape the American West. Sedgwick casts light on the not-terribly-different power struggles of the California and Seattle companies that have replaced rails with websites to shape the future.” —Steven Levy, author of Facebook: The Inside Story
Product Details
ISBN: 9781982104283
ISBN-10: 1982104287
Publisher: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: June 1st, 2021
Pages: 352
Language: English

How to read more

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How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.

 

And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.

 

15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.

 

50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.

 

Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.

 

Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.

 

Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.

 

Outcome

Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.

 
 
 

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