Over the Range
A History of the Promontory Summit Route of the Pacific Railroad
Francaviglia looks anew at the geographical-historical context of the driving of the golden spike in May 1869. He gazes outward from the site of the transcontinental railroad's completion—the summit of a remote mountain range that extends south into the Great Salt Lake. The transportation corridor that for the first time linked America's coasts gave this distinctive region significance, but it anchored two centuries of human activity linked to the area's landscape.
Francaviglia brings to that larger story a geographer's perspective on place and society, a railroad enthusiast's knowledge of trains, a cartographic historian's understanding of the knowledge and experience embedded in maps, and a desert lover's appreciation of the striking basin-and-range landscape that borders the Great Salt Lake.
Francaviglia has taken a fresh approach to a familiar subject in this important study of a site that forms one of the true building blocks of American history. Carlos Schwantes
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