2012 Richard White, Railroaded (W. W. Norton)

Railroaded is the rare book that represents truly transformative  history.  Far more than the story of the transcontinental railroads, it forces a radical rethinking of how we understand not only the history of the American economy, but American history generally.  Its sweeping, iconoclastic claims are fully grounded in the nineteenth century but have a surprisingly contemporary edge, and it is written with such elegance and understated wit that it captivates general readers and scholars alike. Professor White is a two-time recipient of the Francis Parkman Prize, having won in 1992 for The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815.