Description : In 1869, Jay Cooke, the brilliant but idiosyncratic American banker, decided to finance the Northern Pacific, a transcontinental railroad planned from Duluth, Minnesota, to Seattle. M. John Lubetkin tells how Cooke’s gamble reignited war with the Sioux, rescued George Armstrong Custer from obscurity, created Yellowstone Park, pushed frontier settlement four hundred miles westward, and triggered the Panic of 1873. Staking his reputation and wealth on the Northern Pacific, Cooke was soon whipsawed by the railroad’s mismanagement, questionable contracts, and construction problems. Financier J. P. Morgan undermined him, and the Crédit Mobilier scandal ended congressional support. When railroad surveyors and army escorts ignored Sioux chief Sitting Bull’s warning not to enter the Yellowstone Valley, Indian attacks—combined with alcoholic commanders—led to embarrassing setbacks on the field, in the nation’s press, and among investors. Lubetkin’s suspenseful narrative describes events played out from Wall Street to the Yellowstone and vividly portrays the soldiers, engineers, businessmen, politicians, and Native Americans who tried to build or block the Northern Pacific.
Description : Medical student turned professional soldier David S. Stanley offered forty years of service to his country on the western frontier and during the Civil War. He participated in some of most important Civil War battles, including the Battle of Iuka, the Battle of Corinth, the Battle of Stones Rivers, the Battle of Resaca, the Battle of Spring Hill, and the Battle of Franklin. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Franklin where he was shot while rallying his troops. Stanley was a complex individual who showed concern for his soldiers and ferocity in battle. As Rosecrans’ chief of cavalry, he deserves much credit for making the Union cavalry an important and daunting power in the Western Theater. He also commanded the IV Army Corps at the end of the war. Stanley was a formidable adversary of his enemies and he clashed with William T. Sherman, Jacob Cox and William B. Hazen. This biography covers not only his military career but also his personal life, including his conversion to Roman Catholicism and problem with alcohol.
Description : Much of Seth Bullock's modern renown comes from television, motion pictures, and his friendship with President Theodore Roosevelt. But Bullock was much more than the frontier law enforcer portrayed in fictional accounts. In Seth Bullock: Black Hills Lawman, David Wolff examines the life work of Bullock as he helped build Deadwood, found the town of Belle Fourche, and promote the Black Hills. Wolff explores the many ventures that Bullock delved into once he moved from Montana to the Black Hills at the start of the gold rush in 1876. He points out that Bullock quickly became an integral part of the burgeoning community, attempting to create a lasting legacy for himself by working within local and regional politics, through his various businesses, and in his many positions at the forefront of Black Hills law enforcement and forest management. Bullock's life epitomized that of many entrepreneurs and pioneers across the nation, and Wolff describes the struggles and successes that this thinker and dreamer experienced in his forty-three years in the Black Hills. Seth Bullock: Black Hills Lawman is the third book in the South Dakota Biography Series, which highlights some of the state's most famous residents.
Description : “[A] powerful examination of a nation trying to make sense of the complex changes and challenges of the post–Civil War era.” —Carol Berkin, author of A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution In 1877—a decade after the Civil War—not only was the United States gripped by a deep depression, but the country was also in the throes of nearly unimaginable violence and upheaval, marking the end of the brief period known as Reconstruction and reestablishing white rule across the South. In the wake of the contested presidential election of 1876, white supremacist mobs swept across the South, killing and driving out the last of the Reconstruction state governments. A strike involving millions of railroad workers turned violent as it spread from coast to coast, and for a moment seemed close to toppling the nation’s economic structure. Celebrated historian Michael A. Bellesiles reveals that the fires of that fated year also fueled a hothouse of cultural and intellectual innovation. He relates the story of 1877 not just through dramatic events, but also through the lives of famous and little-known Americans alike. “A superb and troubling book about the soul of Modern America.” —William Deverell, director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West “A bold, insightful book, richly researched, and fast paced . . . Bellesiles vividly portrays on a single canvas the violent confrontations in 1877.” —Alfred F. Young, coeditor of Revolutionary Founders: Rebels, Radicals, and Reformers in the Making of the Nation “[A] wonderful read that is sure to appeal to those interested in the challenges of creating a post–Civil War society.” —Choice
Description : The West the Railroads Made recounts the stories of visionaries such as Henry Harmon Spalding, Samuel Parker, and Asa Whitney, who imagined the railroad as a new Northwest Passage, an iron road through the West to the Orient. As the idea of a Pacific Railroad grew in the 1840s and 1850s, many Americans imagined the West as a fertile garden or a treasure chest of priceless minerals. Railroads could deliver the riches of that West into the hands and pockets of the modern world. These two compelling ideas - the railroad and the West- came together to create an irresistible dream. Filled with contemporary accounts, illustrations, and photographs, The West the Railroads Made offers a fresh look at what the iron road created.