Praised by the Chicago Tribune as “thoroughly and compellingly detailed history,” Volumes I and II of Maury Klein’s monumental history of the Union Pacific Railroad covered the years from 1863-1969. Now the third and final volume brings the story of the Union Pacific–the oldest, largest, and most successful railroad of modern times–fully up to date.
The book follows the trajectory of an icon of the industrial age trying to negotiate its way in a post-railway world, plagued by setbacks such as labor disputes, aging infrastructure, government de-regulation, ill-fated mergers, and more. By 1969 the same company that a century earlier had triumphantly driven the golden spike into Promontory Summit–to immortalize the nation’s first transcontinental railway–seemed a dinosaur destined for financial ruin. But as Klein shows, the Union Pacific not only survived but is once more thriving, which proves that railways remain critical to commerce and industry in America, even as passenger train travel has all but disappeared. Drawing on interviews with Union Pacific personnel past and present, Klein takes readers inside the great railroad–into its boardrooms and along its tracks–to show how the company adapted to the rapidly changing world of modern transportation. The book also offers fascinating portraits of the men who have run the railroad. The challenges they faced, and the strategies they developed to meet them, give readers a rare glimpse into the inner workings of one of America’s great companies.
A capstone on a remarkable achievement, Union Pacific: The Reconfiguration will appeal to historians, business scholars, and transportation buffs alike.