Zephyr:: Tracking a Dream Across America

Henry Kisor, Author Crown Publishers $24 (338p) ISBN 978-0-8129-1984-4
One would be lucky to draw Kisor as a seat partner on a long train trip, for this book-review editor of the Chicago Sun Times is deferential and polite, a master at consequential chit-chat and full of train lore, which he makes interesting whether or not you happen to share his ecstasy in rolling stock. And Kisor ( What's That Pig Outdoors? ) is seemingly expert at compensating for his deafness. Hours before he boards Amtrak's California Zephyr in Chicago, he wanders the train yards looking over the locomotives with an eye for their design and technology; then he checks out the Zephyr's kitchen, renews acquaintance with the chef and asks about the menus. So curious is Kisor about everything happening around him and about the train crew and passengers, who in short order tell him all about themselves, that the miles click away pleasurably. The Zephyr's timetable is scheduled to provide optimum daylight scenery, giving Kisor the opportunity to recall the history of the areas he passes through and to comment on the vistas. And there's rarely a boring lull because Kisor inevitably has something lively to say, whether it's about the local newspapers, train toilets or thermal baths. Readers will be sorry to leave his company at trip's end, in Oakland (mile 2416). Photos not seen by PW . (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/1994
Release date: 02/01/1994
Genre: Nonfiction
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