Golden Spike Conference May 8, 2019

MAY 8-11, 2019
Salt Lake City, Utah
Organized and Sponsored by:
From the organizers —
Join Us & Get Your Hands on
these hot new books!
Click here for conference registration information

The Chinese and the Iron Road: Building the Transcontinental Railroad

Gordon H. Chang and Shelley Fisher Fishkin, editors., with Hilton Obenzinger and Roland Hsu
Stanford University Press, Spring 2019

The Chinese and the Iron Road is the first book to present a comprehensive history of Chinese who helped complete America’s first transcontinental railroad.

The Chinese and the Iron Road recovers the neglected history of Chinese workers who made up about ninety percent of the workforce that constructed the Central Pacific Railroad. The history of the Chinese railroad workers has traditionally been folded into a national history of the culmination of “manifest destiny” linking the two coasts of North America when in 1869 the Golden Spike connected the Central Pacific to the Union Pacific at Promontory Summit, Utah.

This book reveals the Chinese workers through transnational perspectives, and engages readers interested in a range of disciplines to explore our heretofore-unanswered questions: Who were the Chinese who built the railroad? How did they travel across the Pacific? Where were their homes in China, and how did they experience life in the American West? What was their daily life on the line? How did they perform such arduous work? What were their spiritual beliefs? What did they do after the railroad was completed? What did they send back to China? What is their place in our cultural memory?

This book documents and interprets the history of the Chinese railroad workers and contributes to our knowledge of core subjects of immigration across the Pacific, Asian American history, the history of the railroad, and the development of the American West.

Ghosts of Gold Mountain: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad

Gordon H. Chang
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Spring 2019

A groundbreaking, breathtaking history of the Chinese workers who built the Transcontinental Railroad, helping to forge modern America only to disappear into the shadows of history until now.

From across the sea, they came by the thousands, escaping war and poverty in southern China to seek their fortunes in America. Converging on the enormous western worksite of the Transcontinental Railroad, the migrants spent years dynamiting tunnels through the snow-packed cliffs of the Sierra Nevada and laying tracks across the burning Utah desert. Their sweat and blood fueled the ascent of an interlinked, industrial United States. But those of them who survived this perilous effort would suffer a different kind of death—a historical one, as they were pushed first to the margins of American life and then to the fringes of public memory. 

In this groundbreaking account, award-winning scholar Gordon H. Chang draws on unprecedented research to recover the Chinese railroad workers’ stories and celebrate their role in remaking America. An invaluable correction of a great historical injustice, The Ghosts of Gold Mountain returns these “silent spikes” to their rightful place in our national saga.
These two volumes represent years of painstaking labor digging into a past obscured by racism, apathy and an overt effort to discriminate and exclude. Uncovering these untold stories help to demonstrate
the contributions of these Asian American Pioneers.
CRWDA is a national, membership driven non-profit organization which seeks to preserve, promote and protect the contributions made by Chinese railroad workers to the United States. Through our educational and philanthropic efforts, we support academic research, historic preservation and artistic projects that further the understanding and appreciation of the sacrifices, struggles, hardships and contributions made by generations of Chinese and Chinese Americans to the United States. ​​​ These two book create an enduring history which states the facts about our Chinese ancestors
We are very happy to have them available to you at the 2019 Golden Spike Conference.