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Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean Paperback – August 5, 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 1,093 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A dramatic story . . . and Les Standiford has a good deal of fun with it all.”
Washington Post Book World

“A definitive account of the engineering feat that became known as ‘Flagler’s Folly’. . . A rousing adventure." Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“A fascinating and incredibly compelling account . . . I could not put it down.” —Donald Trump

“This is the remarkable true-life chronicle of one of America’s greatest engineering achievements, and how it was all blown to bits in a few hellish hours. No novelist could have invented such a stunning tale, or such unforgettable characters.”
—Carl Hiaasen, author of Basket Case

“Last Train to Paradise is a fast-moving and gripping story about one of the most ambitious and difficult engineering projects of the last century.” —Henry Petroski, author of Engineers of Dreams

“This is a wonderfully told tale, a strange and compelling story about a strange and compelling part of the world. With sharp, evocative reporting, the book captures an era, the Florida landscape, and the very human dream of doing the impossible.”
—Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief

“Last Train to Paradise is an extraordinary achievement, a nonfiction book as exciting and finely written as a first-rate novel, with the narrative drive of a locomotive. . . . Throw in Ernest Hemingway and some of the most dramatic scenes of the chaos of a hurricane ever written and you’ve got one hell of a spectacular book.” —James Hall, author of Blackwater Sound and Under Cover of Daylight

“Only one thing could have stopped entrepreneur Henry Flagler: the most powerful storm ever to strike the United States. Les Standiford has given us a rousing—a deeply sobering—story of this 1935 collision between hubris and hurricane in the Florida Keys.” —Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed

“Last Train to Paradise is a mesmerizing account of Gilded Age titan Henry Flagler and his extraordinary dream to build a railroad across the sea. Henry Flagler’s quest to build an overseas railroad has all the elements of a classic Greek tragedy, and Les Standiford has captured both the man and his times with pitch perfect grace.”
—Connie May Fowler, author of Before Women Had Wings and When Katie Wakes

From the Inside Flap

Last Train to Paradise is acclaimed novelist Les Standiford's fast-paced and gripping true account of the extraordinary construction and spectacular demise of the Key West Railroad—one of the greatest engineering feats ever undertaken, destroyed in one fell swoop by the Labor Day hurricane of 1935. Brilliant and driven entrepreneur Henry Flagler's dream fulfilled, the Key West Railroad stood as a magnificent achievement for more than twenty-two years, heralded as "the Eighth Wonder of the World." Standiford brings the full force and fury of 1935's deadly "Storm of the Century" and its sweeping destruction of "the railroad that crossed an ocean" to terrifying life. Last Train to Paradise celebrates a crowning achievement of Gilded Age ambition in a sweeping tale of the powerful forces of human ingenuity colliding with the even greater forces of nature's wrath.

"A dramatic story . . . and Les Standiford has a good deal of fun with it all." —Washington Post Book World
"A rousing—a deeply sobering—story." —Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed
"A fascinating and incredibly compelling account . . . I could not put it down." —Donald Trump
"A definitive account of the engineering feat that became known as 'Flagler's Folly'. . . A rousing adventure."—Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Crown; 41652nd edition (August 5, 2003)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1400049474
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1400049479
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 8.8 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.2 x 0.65 x 8 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 1,093 ratings

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I was born in the Appalachian outpost of Cambridge, Ohio, then a mining and manufacturing town where no one that I ever met claimed to have written a book of to know anyone who had. I was the first in a sprawling family to go to college (I began at the Air Force Academy, but finding myself ill-prepared for taking orders, finished up at Muskingum), tried law school (Columbia) as well as a number of other things, then stumbled into a creative writing program at the University of Utah where life finally began to make sense. That process was aided by a stint as a Screenwriting Fellow at the American Film institute, where I learned what a story was. That eventually lead to the publication of SPILL, my first novel, followed by nine more, then a leap out of mystery and into history with LAST TRAIN TO PARADISE, now nearing its 40th printing. I've been writing historical narratives ever since, ten of them, trying to imbue those books with the same vividness that I hoped to bring to the novels, and--you be the judge--trying to make history as interesting as real life.

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
1,093 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

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Top reviews from other countries

DAVID BRYSON
5.0 out of 5 stars NATURE, HEARTLESS WITLESS NATURE
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 30, 2018
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DOPPLEGANGER
5.0 out of 5 stars The late redemption of a Robber Baron
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 5, 2008
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heyjude
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic biography
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 20, 2014
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trevor adams
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 30, 2015
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Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A great engineering story.
Reviewed in Canada on March 9, 2016
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