Join us for an evening with prize-winning historian Richard White, who will talk about his eagerly anticipated and now celebrated big book on the epic construction of the railroads that spanned the American continent in the 1870s and 80s. The story of how the railroads were built has become one of the nation’s inspiring myths, and they transformed life radically, rearranging forever our sense of space and time. But the fable version of the story overlooks the darker and more intriguing details: the corporate profits, the political corruption, and the monopolistic practices of men known to their own age and ours as “Robber Barons.”
Nobody tells this story better than Richard White in Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America. Fellow American historian Patricia Limerick wrote, “Railroaded offers flabbergasting views of the human talent for self-justification and contradiction, provides a valuable—if unsettling— comparison to the financial troubles of our times, and shows why the best historians are compared to detectives.” And Geoffrey C. Ward said the book is “fresh, provocative, and witty” and is told “with the narrative force of a locomotive roaring across the empty plains.”
Margaret Byrne Professor of American History, Stanford
Richard White is a past president of the Organization of American Historians, and is currently a Faculty Co-director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West and principal investigator for the center’s Shaping the West project. He is the author of seven books, including The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and won the Francis Parkman Prize.
Wednesday, January 11
Cubberley Auditorium, School of Education
This program is co-sponsored by the Stanford Historical Society, the Bill Lane Center for the American West, and Stanford Continuing Studies. Books will be available at the event for purchase and inscription.
FREE; no registration is required