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Nothing Like it In The World: The Men Who Built The Transcontinental Railroad 1863 - 1869

Abridged Audiobook

Written By: Stephen E. Ambrose

Narrated By: Jeffrey DeMunn

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date: August 2000

Duration: 6 hours 30 minutes


In this account of an unprecedented feat of engineering, vision, and courage, Stephen E. Ambrose offers an historical successor to his universally acclaimed Undaunted Courage.
Nothing Like It in the World is the story of the men who built the transcontinental railroad. In Ambrose's hands, this enterprise comes to life.
The U.S. government pitted two companies -- the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific Railroads -- against each other in a race for funding, encouraging speed over caution. At its peak, the work force approached the size of Civil War armies, with as many as 15,000 workers on each line. The surveyors, the men who picked the route, living off buffalo, deer, and antelope.
In building a railroad, there is only one decisive spot -- the end of the track. Nothing like this great work had ever been seen in the world when the last spike, a golden one, was driven in Promontory Peak, Utah, in 1869, as the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific tracks were joined.
Ambrose writes with power and eloquence about the brave men -- the famous and the unheralded, ordinary men doing the extraordinary -- who accomplished the spectacular feat that made the continent into a nation.


  • ray kielsmeier

    Enjoyed it very much. I would recommend it to anyone who loves American history. A good example of what we were as apposed to what we now are. A country that can do so little. Except decline and retreat from our great past.

  • paul

    Great Beginning with Stephen Ambrose introduction. Went rapidly downhill from there. What a real shame. The Narrator Really Sucked. Could not even get past the first 300 words. actually, put me to sleep. Would have been a lot better-off just reading the book.

  • Home Boy

    Very fascinating behind the scenes look at the building of the transcontinental railroad. Most of it was new info to me. Amazing the feats that were accomplished with so little technology back in those days but so much ambition, grit and manpower!

  • Matt from Chicago

    This book may be a historical successor to “Undaunted Courage,” but I didn’t find it nearly as interesting or engaging. The story of the transcontinental railroad is very interesting, and Ambrose does a good job putting the whole affair in proper perspective as one of the most important man-made achievements ever. However, due to the sheer number of people involved in the process, the book – at least the abridged version – doesn’t have the time to develop the main characters, outside of 1 or 2 very important people. Also, if you listen to this book, it would be helpful to have a map nearby so you can visualize the constant geographic references Ambrose makes about the path of the railroad.

  • Daniel Wainwright

    Fascinating story of those who worked on the Trans-Continental Railroad. Provides a good account pointing out both the good and the bad of those involved in the project. Very interesting and enjoyable. Love the narrator.

Nothing Like it In The World: The Men Who Built The Transcontinental Railroad 1863 - 1869

by Stephen E. Ambrose

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Nothing Like it In The World: The Men Who Built The Transcontinental Railroad 1863 - 1869, Stephen E. Ambrose