Fascinating and well-written history of the Southern Railway, once known as America's "champion" railroad. The author traces the story from the original "Best Friend of Charleston" locomotive through the development of the system and with it, the South, by a group of remarkable entrepreneurs, including the creation in 1894 of the Southern Railway network from the ruins of earlier endeavors. The lives of the Southern's early leaders -- Samuel Spenser, Fairfax Harrison, Ernest Norris, Harry Debutts, and Bill Brosnan -- are all recounted in an engaging and informative manner. The author was also able to interview the three modern Presidents -- Graham Claytor, Jr., Stanley Crane and Harold Hall -- so that the story comes to its natural conclusion with the merger into Norfolk and Western and the birth of the Norfolk Southern. The Southern was famous for its many innovations and early adaptation of cutting edge technologies, from diesels to "hot box" detectors, from mechanization of maintenance of way equipment to use of oversize box cars and hopper cars for bulk goods and this book helps to explain why its leadership was so well-managed and adaptable decade after decade. Illustrated. 309 pages with index.