1869, Jay Cooke, the brilliant but idiosyncratic American banker,
decided to finance the Northern Pacific, a transcontinental railroad
planned from Duluth, Minnesota, to Seattle.
how Cooke’s gamble reignited war with the Sioux, rescued
Armstrong Custer from obscurity, created Yellowstone Park, pushed
frontier settlement four hundred miles westward, and triggered the
Panic of 1873.
and wealth on the Northern Pacific, Cooke was soon whipsawed by the
railroad’s mismanagement, questionable contracts, and
problems. Financier J. P. Morgan undermined him, and the
Mobilier scandal ended congressional support. When railroad surveyors
and army escorts ignored Sioux chief Sitting Bull’s warning
enter the Yellowstone Valley, Indian attacks—combined with
commanders—led to embarrassing setbacks on the field, in the
press, and among investors.
suspenseful narrative describes events played out from Wall Street to
the Yellowstone and vividly portrays the soldiers, engineers,
businessmen, politicians, and Native Americans who tried to build or
block the Northern Pacific.
Jay Cooke's Gamble
The Northern Pacific Railroad, the Sioux, and the Panic of 1873
by M. John Lubetkin
University of Oklahoma Press, 2014