Last Spike, The Great Railway 1881-1885 Canadian Pacific DJ Berton

Last Spike, The Great Railway 1881-1885 Canadian Pacific DJ Berton

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Last Spike, The Great Railway 1881-1885 Canadian Pacific DJ Berton
The Last Spike The Great Railway 1881-1885 Canadian Pacific By Pierre Berton DUST JACKET 1971   478 Pages
In the four years between 1881 and 1885 Canada was forged into one nation by the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Last Spike reconstructs this turbulent period. Here is the full incredible story of how some two thousand miles of steel was Hung across a continent in just five years - exactly half the time stipulated in the contract; the adventures that were part of this vast undertaking, the railway on the brink of bankruptcy, with one hour between it and ruin; the extraordinary land boom of Winnipeg in 1881-82; and the epic tale of how William Van Horne rushed three thousand soldiers over a half-finished railway to quell the Riel Rebellion.
Here is the account of more than seven thousand pigtailed Chinese toiling and dying in the canyons of the Fraser, employed by Andrew Onderdonk who, without the cheap coolie labour, could probably not have completed his contract. The scenes shift in dramatic fashion - from Montreal, where a harassed George Stephen came close to a nervous breakdown as his company's financial problems worsened; to Lake Superior, where an army of workers was blasting its way through the world's oldest rock; and westward to the mountains, where Major A. B. Rogers was desperately trying to find a pass in the apparently impassable rampart of the Selkirks.
Berton relates the earliest days of half a dozen Canadian cities: Sudbury, Brandon, Regina, Calgary, Revelstoke, and Vancouver. But dominating the whole saga are the men who made it all possible - a host of astonishing characters: Van Home, the most versatile immigrant Canada has ever known; Rogers, the eccentric surveyor; Onderdonk, the cool New Yorker; Stephen, the most emotional of businessmen. Then there were intriguing minor figures on the scene such as Father Lacombe, the black-robed voyageur; Sam Steele, of the North West Mounted Police; Gabriel Dumont, the Prince of the Prairies; and many more -land sharks, construction geniuses, politicians, and entrepreneurs - all of whom played a role in the founding of the new Canada west of Ontario.
This is the eagerly awaited sequel to Berton's best-selling The National Dream and, although it reads like a novel, it once again has been written from primary sources - unpublished manuscripts, diaries, letters, public documents, and newspapers.

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