Transportation and the American People

Transportation and the American People

H. Roger Grant
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 10/01/2019
Format: Hardback 40 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-04330-6
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Transportation is the unsung hero in America's story. Stagecoaches, waterways, canals, railways, busses, and airplanes revolutionized much more than just the way people got around; they transformed the economic, political, and social aspects of everyday life. In Transportation and the American People, renowned historian H. Roger Grant tells the story of American transportation from its slow, uncomfortable, and often dangerous beginnings to the speed and comfort of travel today. Early advances like stagecoaches and canals allowed traders, business, and industry to expand across the nation, setting the stage for modern developments like transcontinental railways and busses that would forever reshape the continent. Grant provides a compelling and thoroughly researched narrative of the social history of travel, shining a light on the role of transportation in shaping the country and on the people who helped build it.

Author Bio

H. Roger Grant is Kathryn and Calhoun Lemon Professor of History at Clemson University. He is author of numerous books, including Visionary Railroader, John W. Barriger III, Railroaders without Borders, and Railroads and the American People.



A tour de force penned by prolific historian H. Roger Grant, this lively book explores the love/hate relationship between the traveling public and modes of transportation from eighteenth century stagecoaches to supersonic aircraft. Whether on a steamboat or an intercity bus, fickle travelers demanded faster schedules, enhanced comfort, greater safety, and lower fares. A splendid read!


Keith Bryant, author of History of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway

"H. Roger Grant has devoted a lifetime to the study of American transportation. This overview history draws on his vast knowledge of the topic, and his coverage is both informative and entertaining. Though he himself is a master of technical details, he offers readers a lucid distillation of his knowledge, which he skillfully enlivens with appropriate quotations from original documents and first-hand observers. This is social history at its finest."

Carlos Schwantes, author of Just One Restless Rider: Reflections on Trains and Travel


Americans are the most mobile people ever, and their story needs telling for a popular audience. Roger Grant offers a comprehensive survey from stagecoaches to canals, inland steamboats, railroads, automobiles, and airlines. Two things haven't changed: Travel can be a hassle, and travel can be a thrill. Grant tells the story with hard facts and engaging anecdotes.


Peter A. Hansen, editor of Railroad History


Transportation and the American People offers a rich and colorful account of the many ways that people have moved from place to place over the past two hundred years. From stagecoaches and steamboats to canal packets, railroads, buses, and aircraft, Roger Grant chronicles the shared experiences of those who have enjoyed – or endured – their journey. No other book so effectively describes what it was like to move from here to there. Informative and a delight to read.


Albert Churella, author of The Pennsylvania Railroad: Building an Empire

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Table of Contents



1. Steady but Uncomfortable: Stagecoaches and the American People

2. Waterways and the American People

3. Slow and Steady: Canals and the American People

4. Railways and the American People

5. Buses and the American People

6. Airplanes and the American People