Horn Book Guide Reviews

Murphy describes the journey Robert Louis Stevenson took in 1879 from Scotland to California to see the woman he loved. The vivid account of the train trip across America with other emigrants makes extensive use of Stevenson's own words about the exhausting and often unpleasant experience. Skillfully interwoven into the narrative is a general history of the growth of the transcontinental railroad. An inviting volume, abundantly illustrated with black-and-white photographs and reproductions. Bib., ind. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 5-8-In 1879, Robert Louis Stevenson journeyed from Scotland across the Atlantic and then by train across the United States to join the woman he loved in Monterey, California. Murphy has drawn from the writer's journal to provide a fresh, primary-source account of transcontinental train travel at that time. Choosing by necessity the cheapest passage, Stevenson traveled with other newcomers to the U.S. who had not yet reached their final destination. He describes his companions, the passing countryside, the interior of the railroad cars, and daily life aboard a train. Into these journal entries, Murphy has woven meticulously researched, absorbing accounts of the building of the railroad and its effect on the territory it crossed: the disruption and destruction of Native American life, the slaughter of the buffalo, accidents, the development of the Pullman car, the towns that quickly came and vanished as the construction crews moved on, the snowsheds built to protect the trains in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Abundant, carefully selected period photographs, engravings, and lithographs are every bit as intriguing as the text. Appended is a lengthy bibliography with some original source material. This work supplements Leonard Everett Fisher's more extensive Tracks Across America (Holiday, 1992); it is a readable and valuable contribution to literature concerning expansion into the American West.- Diane S. Marton, Arlington County Library, VA Copyright 1993 Cahners Business Information.