Men on Iron Horses

Edith McCall (Author) · Christopher Tice (Illustrator)

Order Code: 8090
Class sets 10 or more paperback books: $12.00 each
Class set order code: 8090S

The stories in this book explore the evolution of the locomotive and the development of the railroad in America—and the men who made it happen—revolutionizing the economy and ushering in an era of unity across the country.


In the early 1830s, people in America began building the first locomotives and laying railroad tracks across the country. Mail, goods, and passengers all needed a way to traverse the nation, and the iron horse seemed the best way to do it. For the next forty years, the railroad slowly snaked westward to the edges of the frontier, then crossed great expanses of untamed wilderness to get to California, connecting East with West in a way that had not been possible before.

The work was not easy, nor was it without problems. Someone had to invent the first locomotive. Someone had to make it work well. Someone had to figure out how to keep passengers from being choked by smoke and burned by falling sparks from the locomotive’s smokestack. Someone had to recognize that the entire system of trains and tracks needed to be standardized so that a train in New York could travel on a track in Boston. Someone had to finance the building of more tracks, cut through prairies and forests, bore through mountains, build bridges over valleys and rivers. None of it was easy. In fact, much of it was dangerous.

The iron horses changed fundamentally how united the people of the United States actually felt, and it also radically revolutionized the economies of not just the many small cities along the railroad but also the country as a whole. But men had to make it work, and this books tells those stories.

This book is also available as a series of dyslexia-friendly books. (See below.)


Adventures on the American Frontier Series
8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
History, Novels
Order Code