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Rochester, NY, United States, 2006/10/11 - Robert W. S. Stevens, extraordinary nineteenth-century businessman and American visionary, left behind a legacy of hand-written, true-life experiences, locked away in a dusty attic, forgotten for decades - AhaBlog.com.
When Robert C. Stevens, great-grandson of Robert W. S., discovered this treasured collection of letters and papers – he knew he held more than a piece of his own ancestry in his hands. He knew he was holding a vivid piece of American history.
Thunderbolt from a Clear Sky takes an historical look at Robert W. S. Stevens’ days as a land speculator, a lawyer, and a railroad builder. His first person account of the infamous Quantrill rebel raid on Lawrence, Kansas, in 1863, reveals a part of American history often left out of the history books. The tumultuous frontier world of the day is brought to life in vivid prose accompanied by stunning black and white photographs.
Robert C. Stevens, and his editor, Betty Adams, spent well over two years on this careful, well-written study of a man who was a pivotal figure in the industrialization and modernization of 19th century America. “I didn’t write it to idolize my great-grandfather,” Stevens’ said. “I wanted to share an important part of American history – especially a good deal of the early history of Missouri and Kansas, according to my great-grandfather’s writings.”
Described in the book by his contemporaries, this image of Robert W.S. Stevens emerges, "New life, new energy, new enterprise, new rules and maxims of trade, come with the advent of railroads. Bob Stevens has set things a bobbing. His railroad has fallen upon us like a thunderbolt from a clear sky. He is everywhere all at once, omnipresent, ubiquitous, and irrepressible. He launches his iron rails as Jove did his thunderbolts. The rapidity with which he has built the railroad between here and Humboldt has no parallel in the history of railroad construction." Chetopa, KS, Advance, June 1870.
Robert C. Stevens has written a fascinating biography and inspiring story of an American businessman, legislator (Kansas state and U.S. Congressman from N.Y.), and farmer. Woven through the biographical account of Robert W. S. Stevens are numerous colorful stories of the American west, the railroad industry, and a great (though previously unheralded) American family.
WME Books, an Author Services company offers customized publishing. Thunderbolt from a Clear Sky can be purchased at the WME Books’ online bookstore. All books published by WME Books are also featured on the company’s Aha! blog.