Sunday, December 30, 2007

"The Associates: Four Capitalists Who Created California'

"The Associates: Four Capitalists Who Created California" by Richard Rayner, W.W. Norton/Atlas Books. Book review by Wendy Smith, © Los Angeles Times, DATE.

" ... a famous photograph taken on May 10, 1869 ... doesn't show the ferocious competition that preceded it, a race across the continent funded by two groups of cutthroat businessmen. 'The race was over,' Richard Rayner writes of that photo-op moment, 'settled at last, not in the badlands of Utah, but in the smoke-filled study of a dodgy congressman.' In that dank room, though the scandal-plagued Union Pacific hung onto plenty of track (and boodle), the Central Pacific came out on top, with a railroad that extended hundreds of miles beyond the California state line established as its end point in the 1862 Pacific Railway Act. Those extra miles ensured that the Central Pacific would dominate rail traffic in California and the Southwest, creating a cash cow for the four titans whose shenanigans are the subject of Rayner's lively study. ... " [More]

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