Conquering Gotham

Conquering Gotham

Building Penn Station and Its Tunnels

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780143113249
  • 384 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


“Superb. [A] first-rate narrative” (The Wall Street Journal ) about the controversial construction of New York’s beloved original Penn Station and its tunnels

As bestselling books like Ron Chernow’s Titan and David McCullough’s The Great Bridge affirm, readers are fascinated with the grand personalities and schemes that populated New York at the close of the nineteenth century. Conquering Gotham re- creates the riveting struggle waged by the great Pennsylvania Railroad to build Penn Station and the monumental system of tunnels that would connect water-bound Manhattan to the rest of the continent by rail. Historian Jill Jonnes tells a ravishing tale of snarling plutocrats, engineering feats, and backroom politicking packed with the most colorful figures of Gilded Age New York.

Conquering Gotham will be featured in an upcoming episdoe of PBS’s American Experience.


“A human account of how a few visionaries from the Pennsylvania Railroad connected the rest of the country to the nation’s greatest port, and how their Philadelphia-centric perspective doomed the world’s largest train station.”
-Sam Roberts, The New York Times

“Lush and lovely prose.”
-The Baltimore Sun

“In the tradition of David McCullough’s narrative of the Brooklyn Bridge . . . intelligent history about building an indispensable part of our infrastructure.”
-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
PRH Book Clubs Survey