The National Dream: The Great Railway, 1871-1881

The National Dream: The Great Railway, 1871-1881
Pierre Berton
Anchor Canada (2011)
Rating: ★★★★☆
Tags: History, Canada, General
Historyttt Canadattt Generalttt

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Using primary sources — diaries, letters, unpublished manuscripts, public documents and newspapers — Pierre Berton has reconstructed the incredible decade of the 1870s, when Canadians of every stripe —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

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Review

"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

From the Inside Flap

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 diaries, letters, unpublished manuscripts, public documents and newspapers ?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 backmail 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, cmoe to life with all their human ambitions and failings.

Copyright © 1970 by Pierre Berton Enterprises Ltd.
Anchor Canada paperback edition 2001

 

All rights reserved. The use of any part of this publication, reproduced, transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, or stored in a retrieval system without the prior written consent of the publisher — or, in the case of photocopying or other reprographic copying, a license from the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency — is an infringement of the copyright law.

 

Anchor Canada and colophon are trademarks.

 

National Library of Canada Cataloguing in Publication Data

 

Berton, Pierre, 1920–
   The national dream : the great railway, 1871–1881

 

eISBN: 978-0-385-67355-6

 

1. Canadian Pacific Railway Company – History. 2. Canada – History – 1867–1914. 3. Railroads and state – Canada – History.
4. Railroads – Canada – History. I. Title.

 

HE2810.C2B48 2001            385′.0971               C2001-930606–7

 

Published in Canada by
Anchor Canada, a division of
Random House of Canada Limited

 

v3.1

 

Books by Pierre Berton

 

The Royal Family

The Mysterious North

Klondike

Just Add Water and Stir

Adventures of a Columnist

Fast Fast Fast Relief

The Big Sell

The Comfortable Pew

The Cool, Crazy, Committed World of the Sixties

The Smug Minority

The National Dream

The Last Spike

Drifting Home

Hollywood’s Canada

My Country

The Dionne Years

The Wild Frontier

The Invasion of Canada

Flames Across the Border

Why We Act Like Canadians

The Promised Land Vimy

Starting Out

The Arctic Grail

The Great Depression

Niagara: A History of the Falls

My Times: Living with History

1967, The Last Good Year

Picture Books

The New City (with Henri Rossier)

Remember Yesterday

The Great Railway

The Klondike Quest

Pierre Berton’s Picture Book of Niagara Falls

Winter

The Great Lakes

Seacoasts

Pierre Berton’s Canada

Anthologies

Great Canadians

Pierre and Janet Berton’s

Canadian Food Guide

Historic Headlines

Farewell to the Twentieth Century

Worth Repeating

Welcome to the Twenty-first Century

Fiction

Masquerade (pseudonym Lisa Kroniuk)

Books for Young Readers

The Golden Trail

The Secret World of Og

Adventures in Canadian History (22 volumes)

Contents

 

Cover

Title Page

Copyright

Other Books by This Author

Maps

Dedication

Cast of Characters

From Sea to Sea

 

CHAPTER ONE

1. An act of “insane recklessness”

2. The dreamers

3. “Canada is a corpse”

4. The struggle for the North West

5. The land beyond the lakes

6. Ocean to Ocean

7. The ordeal of the Dawson Route

CHAPTER TWO

1. Poor Waddington

2. Sir Hugh Allan’s shopping spree

3. The downfall of Cartier

4. George McMullen’s blackmail

CHAPTER THREE

1. Lucius Huntington’s moment in history

2. Scandal!

3. The memorable August 13

4. The least satisfactory Royal Commission

5. Battle stations

6. Macdonald versus Blake

CHAPTER FOUR

1. “Hurra! The jolly C.P.S.!”

2. The bitter tea of Walter Moberly

3. Ordeal in the mountains

4. “That old devil” Marcus Smith

CHAPTER FIVE

1. Lord Carnarvon intervenes

2. “The horrid B.C. business”

3. The Battle of the Routes

CHAPTER SIX

1. The first locomotive

2. Adam Oliver’s favourite game

3. The stonemason’s friends

4. “Mean, treacherous coward!”

CHAPTER SEVEN

1. Resurrection

2. “Get rid of Fleming”

3. The Strange Case of Contract Forty-two

4. Bogs without bottom

5. Sodom-on-the-Lake

CHAPTER EIGHT

1. Jim Hill’s Folly

2. “Donald Smith is ready to take hold”

3. Enter George Stephen

4. A railway at bargain rates

5. The Syndicate is born

CHAPTER NINE

1. “Capitalists of undoubted means”

2. Success!

3. The Contract

4. The Great Debate begins

5. The “avenging fury”

6. Macdonald versus Blake again

7. The dawn of the new Canada

Chronology

Notes

Bibliography

Acknowledgements

 

Maps

 

Canada before the
CPR
(1871)
Prairie Trails and Explorations (1857–71)
Fleming’s Route, Ocean to Ocean
The Dawson Route
Walter Moberly’s Country.
The Battle of the Routes
Fleming’s Survey (1877)
Government Contracts
The St. Paul and Pacific Railway (1873)
Drawn by Courtney C. J. Bond

To Arthur Irwin

Cast of Major Characters

 

The Politicians
LIBERAL-CONSERVATIVES (TORIES)
Sir John A. Macdonald
, Prime Minister of Canada, 1867-73, 1878-91.

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