Union Pacific

Written by Zane Grey
Review by Tess Allegra

The early American West was a rough terrain to conquer. For Union Pacific railroad workers, it meant impossible logistics through mountains and deserts and dealing with a number of understandably irate Indians who feared and resented this “Iron Horse” brought by these pale, whiskey-drinking men. Women also fought dangers keeping the men fed, caring for their families and fighting abduction by warrior tribes. Years of laying track and overcoming nature culminated as the Union Pacific headed West from the East Coast and met up with the Southern Pacific on that eventful day in 1869 at Promontory Point, Utah, where the final spike was driven to loud cries of “Done!” Five years of rough living and constant danger gave the new country a continuity that is taken for granted these days.

This reissue taken from Zane Grey’s original manuscript reveals the author’s view of this undertaking and the pioneer spirit that makes miracles possible. One worker declared that the railroad was built by whisky and tea: the Irish from the East and the Chinese in the West joining the country from coast to coast. Fast-paced dialogue and authentic characters create a novel which begs to be read.