Train: Riding the Rails That Created the Modern World%E2%80%94from the Trans-Siberian to the Southwest Chief

Tom Zoellner. Viking, $27.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-670-02528-2
Author and educator Zoellner may love trains more than any man alive. In his traveler's guide and history of railroading, Zoellner journeys to the world's forgotten locomotive landmarks, riding the rails as much as humanly possible "to see the flickering landscape through their eyes" and brings the reader a unique perspective on the past, present, and future of locomotion. He begins with the earliest European railroads and details the effects trains have had on countries like India—spurred to international prominence through British-built tracks—and the jolting manner in which high-speed trains have evolved in the twenty-first century—applauded in Spain and Japan, hotly debated in the United States. Zoellner's pro-train bias is never unclear as he often launches into rhapsodic prose; passages like "the softest glow in the world…making the horizon smudgy with obscure whites and grays" are common, and the author recounts many experiences with fellow passengers that support his portrayal of trains as a bastion of whirlwind socialization. Perhaps too much attention is paid to this romantic depiction at the expense of solid answers about the usefulness of trains today, but Zoellner still constructs an absorbing history lesson that allows readers to draw their own conclusions. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 04/21/2014
Release date: 01/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-1672-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-4672-5
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-14-312634-8
MP3 CD - 978-1-4526-6672-3
Hardcover - 605 pages - 978-1-4104-6905-2
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