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

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
August 2000
15 hours 39 minutes
In this New York Times bestseller, Stephen Ambrose brings to life the story of the building of the transcontinental railroad, from the men who financed it to the engineers and surveyors who risked their lives to the workers who signed on for the dangerous job.

Nothing Like It in the World gives the account of an unprecedented feat of engineering, vision, and courage. It is the story of the men who built the transcontinental railroad—the investors who risked their businesses and money; the enlightened politicians who understood its importance; the engineers and surveyors who risked, and sometimes lost, their lives; and the Irish and Chinese immigrants, the defeated Confederate soldiers, and the other laborers who did the backbreaking and dangerous work on the tracks.

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. Locomotives, rails, and spikes were shipped from the East through Panama or around South America to the West or lugged across the country to the Plains. In Ambrose's hands, this enterprise, with its huge expenditure of brainpower, muscle, and sweat, comes vibrantly to life.
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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.

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A. Longa

Well researched but can get slow at times when listening to the audio.

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Great history book but can get a bit dry slogging through the details.

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Caitin P.

Very interesting view on a past that is not very well known in this country.

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Mark Nicholson

I liked the book but didn't love it. there were some odd pauses in the recording,

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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