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Iron Rails, Iron Men, and the Race to Link the Nation: The Story of the Transcontinental Railroad

By: Martin W. Sandler

1850s: Two rival companies accomplished the impossible—they tunneled through mountains and constructed the highest-ever bridges to connect 1,800 miles of America by rail. Epilogue. Time line. Source notes. Bibliography. Index. Maps. Black-and-white period photographs, illustrations, and reproductions of materials.

ISBN: 9780763665272

JLG Release: Feb 2016


Sensitive Areas: Violence: Mild Violence
Topics: Central Pacific Railroad , Union Pacific Railroad , Transcontinental railroad , Nineteenth-century U ,S , history , Chinese workers , Snow , Desert , Great Plains , Sierra Nevada , Hell-on-wheels towns , Grenville Dodge (1831-1916) , Thomas Durant (1820-1885) , James Strobridge (1827-1921)

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Nonfiction Middle

Grades 5-8

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Awards & Honors

2016 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, 6–8
Children’s Book Committee Bank Street College of Education, 2016 Best Children’s Books of the Year, History

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine, The Horn Book Guide^, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal

School Library Journal

Sandler chronicles the development of the transcontinental railroad, from its genesis through its legacy, with an abundance of photographs and lively text. Alternating chapters describe the progress made by the two companies—the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific—and the author incorporates maps and images, appropriately placed along Sandler chronicles the development of the transcontinental railroad, from its genesis through its legacy, with an abundance of photographs and lively text. Alternating chapters describe the progress made by the two companies—the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific—and the author incorporates maps and images, appropriately placed along the way, to further convey the magnitude of the railroad. The pacing, particularly when the two teams meet, is spot-on and mimics the advances of a train. Sandler tempers this engineering feat with details about the corruption that surrounded it, the “Hell on Wheels” towns that appeared alongside the tracks, and the human and environmental toll it took, which enables readers to look critically at an historical event. Sidebars and primary sources, which highlight people and innovations and enrich the narrative, interrupt the story’s flow in a few places. Even though Sandler expounds throughout on the sacrifices made by Chinese workers and the irreparable impact on Native Americans and their culture, the book is written from the perspective of those in power. VERDICT Sandler tells a good story, filled with complex characters, adventure, and heartache, and he meticulously documents his research efforts.—Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KY

Horn Book

On July 1, 1862, President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act, a bold, symbolic statute that authorized the construction of the transcontinental railroad, designed to unite our country at a time when the Civil War was threatening to divide it. Readers will discover that getting Lincoln to approve the project was the easy part. Alternating chapt On July 1, 1862, President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act, a bold, symbolic statute that authorized the construction of the transcontinental railroad, designed to unite our country at a time when the Civil War was threatening to divide it. Readers will discover that getting Lincoln to approve the project was the easy part. Alternating chapters follow the railroad’s progress westward from Omaha with the Union Pacific Railroad and eastward from Sacramento with the Central Pacific Railroad, until the two lines meet in Promontory Summit, Utah. Clear, uncluttered maps show where each section’s tracks are being laid, while archival photographs, which occasionally sacrifice clarity for authenticity, show the workers (Welsh, Irish, Chinese); displaced Native Americans; unforgiving terrain; and rudimentary equipment used to tunnel through mountains or cross the vast plains. Well-positioned and comprehensive sidebar material adds fascinating detail about the people (investors, surveyors, engineers, laborers) and places involved in the project. An epilogue follows the post-construction lives of the men, such as Central Pacific president Leland Stanford, introduced in these sidebars. In addition, a timeline, particularly helpful because of the nonlinear text, is appended along with documentation, a bibliography, photo credits, and an index. betty carter

Book Details

ISBN

9780763665272

First Release

February 2016

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

385.0973

Trim Size

10 5/8" x 9 1/16"

Page Count

224

Accelerated Reader

Level 8.5; Points: 7;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 10.7; Points: 11;

Lexile

N/A

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Candlewick

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Violence: Mild Violence

Topics

Central Pacific Railroad, Union Pacific Railroad, Transcontinental railroad, Nineteenth-century U,S, history, Chinese workers, Snow, Desert, Great Plains, Sierra Nevada, Hell-on-wheels towns, Grenville Dodge (1831-1916), Thomas Durant (1820-1885), James Strobridge (1827-1921),

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