By Dennis Drabelle
St. Martin’s Press 26.99 320 pages
Many books try and tell the story of America, and many succeed. Few however, can tell America’s history in such a personal, poignant way. The Great American Railroad War tells the history of America’s railroad, more specifically the Central Pacific Line, through the eyes of two great writers, Ambrose Bierce and Frank Norris. Instead of a lengthy list of facts about revenue and operations, author Dennis Drabelle tackles the greed and corruption of railroad barons through the words of contemporary literature.
Dennis Drabelle’s tale of railroads is genuinely fun to read. By taking a literary approach instead of business approach, the personality and humanity of the characters shines through on every page.
The only issue with the book is the sheer number of characters involved. As soon as the book opens names are thrown at the reader, and without some prior knowledge of major players in the Central Pacific Line railroad, it can be challenging to keep track of everyone.
The Great American Railroad War makes history fun, and is a joy to read through all at once or in little bites.
Reviewed By Andrew Keyser