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Friday, 4 January 2019

150 years on, a commemoration of the driving of the Golden Spike (free download)

2019 is a special year for students of the American West. May 10th sees the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad, when a golden spike was driven home and the final connection made between the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads.

In 1986-87 I spent a year in New Mexico as part of degree programme in American Studies. I hung out from time to time with railroad men, largely because that was my field prior to returning to the classroom as a 35-year-old. I had at various times been a shunter (switchman), a signalman and a freight train guard (brakemen) in the UK. When I left Albuquerque a friend who lived in the north of the state gave me as a souvenir a railroad spike. The following year, as I compiled a collection of eight or ten short stories for my undergraduate dissertation, I wrote 'The Golden Spike'. It was published in 1989 in Critical Quarterly - which was quite a feather in my cap at that time.

The with sesquicentennial coming up, not to mention the 30th anniversary of its first publication, I thought it was a good time to put it out as an ebook. And for a few days - Saturday 5 January to Wednesday 9 January - you can download a copy for free by following this link:

I hope you enjoy it. And if you do, maybe check out my other books about the American West by clicking on the pictures (right).150 Years on,


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