Jay Cooke's Gamble Aug 18, 2007 13:18:01 GMT -5
Post by bradandlaurie on Aug 18, 2007 13:18:01 GMT -5
Jay Cooke's Gamble
I picked this book up at the LBHA conference last month and I'm already thinking of getting a second copy! So very often when you buy a book on history it is essentially telling the tale of a specific person or event all over again. This was particularly true when I was reading the history of the American Civil War; I seldom found a book offering anything new in terms of facts.
'Jay Cooke's Gamble' is a wonderful book for presenting new information. Now I'll admit right now that I'm not the expert on Custer or the Plains Indian Wars that some people are but, so far, I have not heard anything about this particular episode. This book also shines a bright light on the influence of the Northern Pacific railroad company and Jay Cooke in particular on some of the national decisions of the time.
Essentially Cooke planned on building a new transcontinental railroad line across the northern plains states. The critical leg of this venture starts in Minnesota and is quite the story in itself. The bogs and lakes of Minnesota turned out to be more of a problem than anybody expected. The real heart of the book comes in the telling of the crossing of the Dakotah territories. This was going to be a crossing in which at least a hundred miles of the rail line would pass through land that none other than Sitting Bull was willing to contest.
The whole story revolves around Jay Cooke's efforts to drive the railroad through, come Hell or high water or a thousand angry indians. It involves characters such as ex-Confederate general Thomas Rosser and George Armstrong Custer. This is a story of some little known fights between the army and the indians as the survey crews attempted to plot a trail west. The book is not only interesting in the new facts it reveals but the writer, M. John Lubetkin, demonstrates himself as a excellent writer.
'Jay Cooke's Gamble: The Northern Pacific Railroad, The Sioux, and the Panic of 1873', M. J Lubetkin, 2006, University of Oklahoma Press