A look at the cultural history of a pivotal period in American history: then entry of railroads into the west, and the beginning of the widespread use of photographs, among other things. Lots of interesting info about that very original guy Muybridge, too; he was atypical enough, and also enough a product of his times, that it provides some tension to the story. But most of the tension comes from the very real unease of cultural change, and competing strands of life. I'm not expressing this very well; I should have written this note right after I read the book, rather than a month later! But take it from me that this was fascinating, thought provoking reading.