The National Dream: The Great Railway, 1871-1881

Paperback | August 14, 2001

byPierre Berton

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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Using primary sources — diaries, letters, unpublished manuscripts, public documents and newspapers — Pierre Berton has reconstructed the incredible decade of the 1870s, when Canadians of every stripe —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.

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From the Publisher

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...

From the Jacket

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 shap...

Pierre Berton was one of Canada’s most popular and prolific authors. From narrative histories and popular culture, to picture and coffee table books to anthologies, to stories for children to readable, historical works for youth, many of his fifty books are now Canadian classics. Born in 1920 and raised in the Yukon, Pierre Berton work...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:456 pages, 9 × 6.03 × 1.18 inPublished:August 14, 2001Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385658400

ISBN - 13:9780385658409

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from great read this one is a little slow getting you prepared with all the government hang-ups to build it,but is needed to understand part two-the last spike.put both toghter and wow.i will never think of train travel the same again.
Date published: 2011-08-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Should be mandatory reading for Canadians As with many of the other titles Pierre Berton has wrote (more numerous then I even thought). This is a great little insight into Canada’s past. After reading many of his books I always chuckle when I hear Canadians complain about there being no history in Canada; lord knows I was once one of them. But through The National Dream: "The Great Railway, 1871-1881" he continues on his legacy of bringing forth the rich and vibrant, if not at times turbulent history that shaped Canada, in a reader friendly, admiringly addictive manner. I highly recommend this and the many other books he wrote as a treat for yourself or a gift to anyone who has the slightest inkling of interest in history.
Date published: 2006-07-24

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Editorial Reviews

"Pierre Berton is a chronicler of the first order who has brought photographic clarity to the great and the corrupt, to the zealots and the dreamers associated with Canada's first great vision of linking steel threads to the nation's fabric."
Montreal Star