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Harriman vs. Hill

Wall Street’s Great Railroad War

Larry Haeg

In 1901, the Northern Pacific was an unlikely prize: a twice-bankrupt construction of the federal government, it was a two-bit railroad (literally—five years back, its stock traded for twenty-five cents a share). But it was also a key to connecting eastern markets through Chicago to the rising West. Two titans of American railroads set their sights on it: James J. Hill, head of the Great Northern and largest individual shareholder of the Northern Pacific, and Edward Harriman, head of the Union Pacific and the Southern Pacific. The subsequent contest was unprecedented in the history of American enterprise, pitting not only Hill against Harriman but also Big Oil against Big Steel and J. P. Morgan against the Rockefellers, with a supporting cast of enough wealthy investors to fill the ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria.

The story, told here in full for the first time, transports us to the New York Stock Exchange during the unfolding of the earliest modern-day stock market panic. Harriman vs. Hill re-creates the drama of four tumultuous days in May 1901, when the common stock of the Northern Pacific rocketed from one hundred ten dollars a share to one thousand in a mere seventeen hours of trading—the result of an inadvertent “corner” caused by the opposing forces. Panic followed and then, in short order, a calamity for the “shorts,” a compromise, the near-collapse of Wall Street brokerages and banks, the most precipitous decline ever in American stock values, and the fastest recovery. Larry Haeg brings to life the ensuing stalemate and truce, which led to the forming of a holding company, briefly the biggest railroad combine in American history, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the deal, launching the reputation of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes as the “great dissenter” and President Theodore Roosevelt as the “trust buster.” The forces of competition and combination, unfettered growth, government regulation, and corporate ambition—all the elements of American business at its best and worst—come into play in the account of this epic battle, whose effects echo through our economy to this day.

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Hawai`i's Scenic Roads

Paving the Way for Tourism in the Islands

Dawn E. Duensing

Hawai‘i’s Scenic Roads examines a century of overland transportation from the kingdom’s first constitutional government until World War II, discovering how roads in the world’s most isolated archipelago rivaled those on the continental U.S. Building Hawai‘ i’s roads was no easy feat, as engineers confronted a unique combination of circumstances: extreme isolation, mountainous topography, torrential rains, deserts, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and on Haleakalā, freezing temperatures.

By investigating the politics and social processes that facilitated road projects, Hawai‘i’s Scenic Roads explains that foreign settlers wanted roads to “civilize” the Hawaiians and promote economic development, specifically agriculture. Once sugar became the dominant driver, civic and political leaders turned their attention to constructing scenic roads. Viewed as “commercial enterprises,” scenic byways became an essential factor in establishing tourism as Hawai‘i’s “third crop” after sugar and pineapple. These thoroughfares also served as playgrounds for the islands’ elite residents and wealthy visitors who could afford the luxury of carriage driving, and after 1900, motorcars.

Duensing’s provocative analysis of the 1924 Hawai‘i Bill of Rights reveals that roads played a critical role in redefining the Territory of Hawai‘i’s status within the United States. Politicians and civic leaders focused on highway funding to argue that Hawai‘i was an “integral part of the Union,” thus entitled to be treated as if it were a state. By accepting this Bill of Rights, Congress confirmed the territory’s claim to access federal programs, especially highway aid. Washington’s involvement in Hawai‘i increased subsequently, as did the islands’ dependence on the national government. Federal money helped the territory weather the Great Depression as it became enmeshed in New Deal programs and philosophy. Although primarily an economic protest, the Hawai‘i Bill of Rights was a crucial stepping stone on the path to eventual statehood in 1959.

At the core of this book is the intriguing tales of road projects that established the islands' most renowned scenic drives, including the Pali Highway, byways around Kīlauea Volcano, Haleakalā Highway, and the Hāna Belt Road. The author’s unique approach provides a fascinating perspective for understanding Hawai‘i’s social dynamics, as well as its political, environmental, and economic history.

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Henry's Lieutenants

Ford R. Bryan

Although Henry Ford gloried in the limelight of highly publicized achievement, he privately admitted, "I don't do so much, I just go around lighting fires under other people." Henry's Lieutenants features biographies of thirty-five "other people" who served Henry Ford in a variety of capacities, and nearly all of whom contributed to his fame. These biographical sketches and career highlights reflect the people of high caliber employed by Henry Ford to accomplish his goals: Harry Bennett, Albert Kahn, Ernest Kanzler, William S. Knudsen, and Charles E. Sorenson, among others. Most were employed by the Ford Motor Company, although a few of them were Ford's personal employees satisfying concurrent needs of a more private nature, including his farming, educational, and sociological ventures. Ford Bryan obtained a considerable amount of the material in this book from the oral reminiscences of the subjects themselves.

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Hero of the Angry Sky

The World War I Diary and Letters of David S.Ingalls, America's First Naval Ace

Geoffrey L. Rossano

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The Hiawatha Story

Jim Scribbins

First there was a single experimental coach, then an entire fleet. Soon Hiawatha was a railway legend. Loved for their radically new, streamlined look, the Hiawatha’s Art Deco engines were a hallmark of American industrial design—a genre of passenger cars from Tip Top Tap to Touralux to the glass-encased Skytop. For Midwestern passengers from Chicago to Aberdeen, the Hiawatha represented speed, comfort, and luxury, offering spectacular views of the rolling landscape. From 1935 to 1970 it carried countless passengers and even more memories. Richly illustrated with more than 350 photographs, The Hiawatha Story brings the design and history of this beloved rail fleet to life.

 

Jim Scribbins had a lifetime career at Milwaukee Road and is the author of five books about upper Midwestern railroads. He lives in West Bend, Wisconsin.

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History of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad

Maury Klein

" After the Civil War, the Louisville & Nashville Railroad took the lead among southern railroads in developing rail systems and organizing transcontinental travel. Through two world wars, federal government control, internal crises, external dissension, the Depression, and the great Ohio River flood of 1937, the L&N Railroad remained one of the country's most efficient lines. It is a southern institution and a railroad buff's dream. When eminent railroad historian Maury Klein's definitive History of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad was first published in 1972, it quickly became one of the most sought after books on railroad history. This new edition both restores a hard-to-find classic to print and provides a new introduction by Klein detailing the L&N's history in the thirty years since the book was first published.

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A History of the World in Sixteen Shipwrecks

Stewart Gordon

Roman triremes of the Mediterranean. The treasure fleet of the Spanish Main. Great ocean liners of the Atlantic. Stories of disasters at sea fire the imagination as little else can, whether the subject is a historical wreck—the Titanic or the Bismark—or the recent capsizing of a Mediterranean cruise ship. Shipwrecks also make for a new and very different understanding of world history. A History of the World in Sixteen Shipwrecks explores the ages-long, immensely hazardous, persistently romantic, and still-ongoing process of moving people and goods across far-flung maritime worlds.

Telling the stories of ships and the people who made and sailed them, from the earliest ancient-Nile craft to the Exxon Valdez, A History of the World in Sixteen Shipwrecks argues that the gradual integration of localized and separate maritime regions into fewer, larger, and more interdependent regions offers a unique window on world history. Stewart Gordon draws a number of provocative conclusions from his study, among them that the European “Age of Exploration” as a singular event is simply a myth—many cultures, east and west, explored far-flung maritime worlds over the millennia—and that technologies of shipbuilding and navigation have been among the main drivers of science and technology throughout history. Finally, A History of the World in Sixteen Shipwrecks shows in a series of compelling narratives that the development of institutions and technologies that made terrifying oceans familiar, and turned unknown seas into sea-lanes, profoundly matters in our modern world.

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The Hook and Eye

A History of the Iowa Central Railway

Don L. Hofsommer

Fearing the rapacious power of Chicago’s railroad system in the mid-1900s, Iowa Central Railway supporters fought for a north-south route across the state that would link Minneapolis and St. Paul with St. Louis. Such a route would put the needs of Iowa’s citizens first and provide transportation for the state’s agricultural and industrial trade. 

Analyzing the origins, growth, and eventual dismantling of the Iowa Central Railway, which traversed the state from Ackley to Zearing and Mason City to Marshalltown, Don Hofsommer examines how this unremarkable, “plain vanilla” railway was an example of the life cycle of the American railroad industry. The Hook & Eye demonstrates its symbiotic relationship with its customers. Born in ambition but never rising far above its obscure origins, the Iowa Central eventually fell to outside competition from railroads based in greater metropolitan areas and was made part of the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway in 1912. 

Drawing the story from station records, annual reports, newspaper articles, and interviews with former employees, The Hook & Eye brings both the industry and human sides of railroading into sharp and memorable view. 

Don L. Hofsommer is a native Iowan and professor of history at St. Cloud State University.

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Ice Ship

The Epic Voyages of the Polar Adventurer Fram

Charles W. Johnson

In the golden age of polar exploration (from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s), many an expedition set out to answer the big question—was the Arctic a continent, an open ocean beyond a barrier of ice, or an ocean covered with ice? No one knew, for the ice had kept its secret well; ships trying to penetrate it all failed, often catastrophically. Norway’s charismatic scientist-explorer Fridtjof Nansen, convinced that it was a frozen ocean, intended to prove it in a novel if risky way: by building a ship capable of withstanding the ice, joining others on an expedition, then drifting wherever it took them, on a relentless one-way journey into discovery and fame . . . or oblivion.

Ice Ship is the story of that extraordinary ship, the Fram, from conception to construction, through twenty years of three epic expeditions, to its final resting place as a museum. It is also the story of the extraordinary men who steered the Fram over the course of 84,000 miles: on a three-year, ice-bound drift, finding out what the Arctic really was; in a remarkable four-year exploration of unmapped lands in the vast Canadian Arctic; and on a two–year voyage to Antarctica, where another famous Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen, claimed the South Pole.

Ice Ship will appeal to all those fascinated with polar exploration, maritime adventure, and wooden ships, and will captivate readers of such books as The Endurance, In the Heart of the Sea, and The Last Place on Earth. With more than 100 original photographs, the book brings the Fram to life and light.

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Images from the Arsenal of Democracy

Charles K. Hyde

While researching his previous study, Arsenal of Democracy: The American Automobile Industry in World War II (Wayne State University Press, 2013), award-winning automotive historian Charles K. Hyde discovered the many remarkable photos that were part of the era’s historical documentation. In Images from the Arsenal of Democracy, Hyde presents a selection of nearly three hundred of these documentary photos in striking black and white, with brief captions. Taken together, the images create a captivating portrait of this crucial moment in American business, military, and cultural history. Images from the Arsenal of Democracy spans from 1940 until the end of the war, presenting up-close, rarely seen views of newly built plants and repurposed production lines, a staggering variety of war products and components, and the many workers behind Detroit’s wartime production miracles. The human faces that Hyde presents are especially compelling, as photos show the critical role played by previously underused workers—namely women and African Americans. Images from the Arsenal is divided into chapters by theme, including “Preparing for War before Pearl Harbor”; “Planning Defense Production after Pearl Harbor”; “Aircraft Engines and Propellers”; “Aircraft Components and Complete Aircraft”; “Tanks and Other Armored Vehicles”; “Jeeps, Trucks, and Amphibious Vehicles”; “Guns, Shells, Bullets, and Other War Goods”; “The New Workers”; and “Celebrating the Production Achievements.” The first comprehensive and detailed history drawn solely from the surviving photographic record of wartime Detroit, Images from the Arsenal will be appreciated by automotive historians, World War II scholars, and American history buffs.

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