West like lightning: the brief, legendary ride of the Pony Express

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2019 Spur Awards Finalist, Best Western Historical Nonfiction • The new definitive history of the Pony Express, illustrated with 50 images

"A GROUNDBREAKING WORK. ... The first comprehensive history of the legendary transcontinental experiment in mail delivery in sixty years." —True West

"This rollicking account of the daring enterprise known as the Pony Express brings its era and its legendary characters to life." —San Francisco Chronicle

"Sure to stand amongst the great popular histories of the West." —Tombstone Epitaph

On the eve of the Civil War, three American businessmen launched an audacious plan to create a financial empire by transforming communications across the hostile territory between the nation's two coasts. In the process, they created one of the most enduring icons of the American West: the Pony Express. Daring young men with colorful names like "Bronco Charlie" and "Sawed-Off Jim" galloped at speed over a vast and unforgiving landscape, etching an irresistible tale that passed into myth almost instantly. Equally an improbable success and a business disaster, the Pony Express came and went in just eighteen months, but not before uniting and captivating a nation on the brink of being torn apart. Jim DeFelice's brilliantly entertaining West Like Lightning is the first major history of the Pony Express to put its birth, life, and legacy into the full context of the American story.

The Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company—or "Pony Express," as it came to be known—was part of a plan by William Russell, Alexander Majors, and William Waddell to create the next American Express, a transportation and financial juggernaut that already dominated commerce back east. All that stood in their way were almost two thousand miles of uninhabited desert, ice-capped mountains, oceanic plains roamed by Indian tribes, whitewater-choked rivers, and harsh, unsettled wilderness.

The Pony used a relay system of courageous horseback riders to ferry mail halfway across a continent in just ten days. The challenges the riders faced were enormous, yet the Pony Express succeeded, delivering thousands of letters at record speed. The service instantly became the most direct means of communication between the eastern United States and its far western territories, helping to firmly connect them to the Union.

Populated with cast of characters including Abraham Lincoln (news of whose electoral victory the Express delivered to California), Wild Bill Hickock, Buffalo Bill Cody (who fed the legend of the Express in his Wild West Show), and Mark Twain (who celebrated the riders in Roughing It), West Like Lightning masterfully traces the development of the Pony Express and follows it from its start in St. Joseph, Missouri—the edge of the civilized world—west to Sacramento, the capital of California, then booming from the gold rush. Jim DeFelice, who traveled the Pony's route in his research, plumbs the legends, myths, and surprising truth of the service, exploring its lasting relevance today as a symbol of American enterprise, audacity, and daring.

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Grouped Work ID460c6e18-6509-8696-767d-b67d6a8de934
Grouping Titlewest like lightning the brief legendary ride of the pony express
Grouping Authordefelice jim
Grouping Categorybook
Last Grouping Update2019-10-22 01:55:26AM
Last Indexed2019-10-22 03:27:54AM

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2019 Spur Awards Finalist, Best Western Historical Nonfiction • The new definitive history of the Pony Express, illustrated with 50 images

"A GROUNDBREAKING WORK. ... The first comprehensive history of the legendary transcontinental experiment in mail delivery in sixty years." —True West

"This rollicking account of the daring enterprise known as the Pony Express brings its era and its legendary characters to life." —San Francisco Chronicle

"Sure to stand amongst the great popular histories of the West." —Tombstone Epitaph

On the eve of the Civil War, three American businessmen launched an audacious plan to create a financial empire by transforming communications across the hostile territory between the nation's two coasts. In the process, they created one of the most enduring icons of the American West: the Pony Express. Daring young men with colorful names like "Bronco Charlie" and "Sawed-Off Jim" galloped at speed over a vast and unforgiving landscape, etching an irresistible tale that passed into myth almost instantly. Equally an improbable success and a business disaster, the Pony Express came and went in just eighteen months, but not before uniting and captivating a nation on the brink of being torn apart. Jim DeFelice's brilliantly entertaining West Like Lightning is the first major history of the Pony Express to put its birth, life, and legacy into the full context of the American story.

The Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company—or "Pony Express," as it came to be known—was part of a plan by William Russell, Alexander Majors, and William Waddell to create the next American Express, a transportation and financial juggernaut that already dominated commerce back east. All that stood in their way were almost two thousand miles of uninhabited desert, ice-capped mountains, oceanic plains roamed by Indian tribes, whitewater-choked rivers, and harsh, unsettled wilderness.

The Pony used a relay system of courageous horseback riders to ferry mail halfway across a continent in just ten days. The challenges the riders faced were enormous, yet the Pony Express succeeded, delivering thousands of letters at record speed. The service instantly became the most direct means of communication between the eastern United States and its far western territories, helping to firmly connect them to the Union.

Populated with cast of characters including Abraham Lincoln (news of whose electoral victory the Express delivered to California), Wild Bill Hickock, Buffalo Bill Cody (who fed the legend of the Express in his Wild West Show), and Mark Twain (who celebrated the riders in Roughing It), West Like Lightning masterfully traces the development of the Pony Express and follows it from its start in St. Joseph, Missouri—the edge of the civilized world—west to Sacramento, the capital of California, then booming from the gold rush. Jim DeFelice, who traveled the Pony's route in his research, plumbs the legends, myths, and surprising truth of the service, exploring its lasting relevance today as a symbol of American enterprise, audacity, and daring.

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subject_facetFrontier and pioneer life -- United States
Pony express -- History
Postal service -- United States -- History
Special collections -- Sacramento Public Library
West (U.S.) -- History
title_displayWest like lightning : the brief, legendary ride of the Pony Express
title_fullWest Like Lightning The Brief, Legendary Ride of the Pony Express
West like lightning : the brief, legendary ride of the Pony Express / Jim DeFelice
West like lightning : the brief, legendary ride of the Pony Express [electronic resource] / Jim DeFelice
title_shortWest like lightning
title_subthe brief, legendary ride of the Pony Express
topic_facetFrontier and pioneer life
History
Nonfiction
Pony express
Postal service
Sacramento Public Library
Special collections