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The Chinese and the Iron Road
- Building the Transcontinental Railroad (Asian America)
- Narrated by: Jack de Golia
- Length: 15 hrs and 41 mins
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The completion of the transcontinental railroad in May 1869 is usually told as a story of national triumph and a key moment for American Manifest Destiny. The Railroad made it possible to cross the country in a matter of days instead of months, paved the way for new settlers to come out west, and helped speed America's entry onto the world stage as a modern nation that spanned a full continent. It also created vast wealth for its four owners, including the fortune with which Leland Stanford would found Stanford University some two decades later.
But while the Transcontinental has often been celebrated in national memory, little attention has been paid to the Chinese workers who made up 90 percent of the workforce on the Western portion of the line. The Railroad could not have been built without Chinese labor, but the lives of Chinese railroad workers themselves have been little understood and largely invisible.
The Chinese and the Iron Road illuminates more fully than ever before the interconnected economies of China and the US, how immigration across the Pacific changed both nations, the dynamics of the racism the workers encountered, the conditions under which they labored, and their role in shaping both the history of the railroad and the development of the American West.
The book is published by Stanford University Press. The audiobook is published by University Press Audiobooks.
"Destined to become the go-to resource about Chinese railroad workers in the American West." (Madeline Hsu, author of The Good Immigrants)
"Deeply researched and richly detailed...brings to life the Chinese immigrants whose work was essential to the railroad's construction." (Thomas Bender, author of A Nation Among Nations)
"This collection is essential...Specialists and lay readers alike are encouraged to read this engaging work." (Journal of American History)