Sunday, December 30, 2007

"The Associates: Four Capitalists Who Created California'

"The Associates: Four Capitalists Who Created California" by Richard Rayner, W.W. Norton/Atlas Books. Book review by Wendy Smith, © Los Angeles Times, DATE.

" ... a famous photograph taken on May 10, 1869 ... doesn't show the ferocious competition that preceded it, a race across the continent funded by two groups of cutthroat businessmen. 'The race was over,' Richard Rayner writes of that photo-op moment, 'settled at last, not in the badlands of Utah, but in the smoke-filled study of a dodgy congressman.' In that dank room, though the scandal-plagued Union Pacific hung onto plenty of track (and boodle), the Central Pacific came out on top, with a railroad that extended hundreds of miles beyond the California state line established as its end point in the 1862 Pacific Railway Act. Those extra miles ensured that the Central Pacific would dominate rail traffic in California and the Southwest, creating a cash cow for the four titans whose shenanigans are the subject of Rayner's lively study. ... " [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Larry Mullaly"

I have not read Raynor's book but fear the worst. Between sanctioning murder and killing hundreds of Chinese, it looks like it will fit into a long line of California railroad historiography.

Just as a minor warm-up point: can anyone identify the very strange looking locomotive on the cover of this study.

—Larry Mullaly

12/31/2007 9:28 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


The cover photo is almost certainly Mt. Tamalpias & Muir Woods Shay #3 – looking at the "off" (non-cylinder) side. Photo taken at the top of Mt. Tam.


12/31/2007 9:31 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Also see Business Week.

1/03/2008 7:32 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Also see the San Francisco Chronicle.

1/18/2008 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also see the Bloomberg book review, which repeats the often heard anti-capitalistic mentality where the profit motive which is necessary to organize and direct the economy to accomplish great works is dismissed as "greed." Actually, it ultimately cost the government nothing to get the transcontinental railroad built, and instead by the mid-20th century, the federal government had reaped a huge windfall in discounted transportation costs, tax revenues from an enormously expanded country and economy, and increased value of the half of the land grant checkerboard that it retained.

1/27/2008 6:34 AM  

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