The National Dream

The National Dream

The Great Railway, 1871-1881

Book - 2001
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In 1871, a tiny nation, just four years old -- it's population well below the 4 million mark -- determined that it would build the world's longest railroad across empty country, much of it unexplored. This decision -- bold to the point of recklessness -- was to change the lives of every man, woman and child in Canada and alter the shape of the nation.

Using primary sources -- diaries, letters, unpublished manuscripts, public documents and newspapers -- Pierre Berton has reconstructed the incredible decade of the 1870s, when Canadians of every stripe -- contractors, politicians, financiers, surveyors, workingmen, journalists and entrepreneurs -- fought for the railway, or against it.

The National Dream is above all else the story of people. It is the story of George McMullen, the brash young promoter who tried to blackmail the Prime Minister; of Marcus Smith, the crusty surveyor, so suspicious of authority he thought the Governor General was speculating in railway lands; of Sanford Fleming, the great engineer who invented Standard Time but who couldn't make up his mind about the best route for the railway. All these figures, and dozens more, including the political leaders of the era, come to life with all their human ambitions and failings.
Publisher: Toronto : Anchor Canada, 2001, c1970
ISBN: 9780385658409
0385658400
Branch Call Number: 385 .0971 BER
Characteristics: xii, 439 p. :,maps ;,23 cm

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Lanny213
Oct 23, 2012

I was expecting something different from this book. If I had remembered more of what when on in high school I wouldn't have. I was expecting and wanted to read about the actual laying of the track and the trials and tribulations and I was expecting to read about the people that actually did the work. Instead the book was about the politics behind the railway and getting the financing for it. It was slow going and way more information that I "needed/wanted" - educational though and I'm glad I read it to learn (and possibly retain) some Canadian history.

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