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Old 09-15-2003, 06:43 AM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Maryland
Posts: 73
Default Books

"The Railroad: What it is, What it Does", by John H. Armstrong, Simmons Boardman Books Inc. is a great railroad 101 textbook, goes pretty deep and very readable.

"Railway Age's Comprehensive Railroad Dictionary" Simmons Boardman inc. Great reference book, covering just about every aspect of railroading one can imagine from the general to the very technical to contractual terms. Simmons Boardman publishes for the industry, these are technical books, but again, very readable. If you want to read up on any specific railway ops or professions, these are the people to go to.

"A treasury of Railroad Folklore" Edited by B. A. Botkin and Alvin F. Harlow Crown publishing. This is long out of print but still available from used bookstores, especially those that specialize in railroadania. I read it cover to cover three times over when I was a kid, before returning it to the library. My ex-wife found me a copy a few years back and reading it again confirmed it for me as the best single volume on railroad folklore ever. It's all in there.

"The Road" by Jack London. Often bundled with one of his other works or with other London short stories. I've heard there is a volume out that contains all of London's RR stories.

"Rolling Nowhere" by Ted Conover. Out of print, is a good look at modern hoboing as is "The freight hoppers guide to North American Railways" {more of a how-to than a history} and "Done and Been" by Gypsy Moon. Many works describing the Industrial Workers of the World aka the IWW or The Wobblies will give you a lot of info on the turn of the century hobo who was of course, a breed of migrant agricultural worker and numbered in the tens of thousands. "Bound for Glory" by Woody Guthrie, is another great one, and the movie version starring David Carridene (sp?) ain't bad either. There was a great documentary about kids on the rails during the depression a few years back that also has a good companion book, can't put my hands on either at the moment.

Keep an eye out for anything involving Herman Haupt who was head of U.S. railways during the Civil War and a brilliant, talented, resourceful, man. I'm a long time SCV member, but I take my hat off to old Herman!

It's not history or ops but Gary L. Benson's "Railroad Photography", Kalmbach Books is a good thing to own. It's a how-to book on RR photography. It's B.D. (before digital) 1993, so there's a few archaic phrases to translate, but well worth it. Warning: This book is chock full of Bad Motives! (But what does he know, he just shoots trains for a living.) :P

"Highball: A Pageant of Trains" Lucious Beebe, writer of some renown, photographer, grand character, photographer, and pioneering railfan, put together this book of his railroad photography in 1945.

"Ultimate Train" by Peter Herring. Published by Dorling Kindersley and very similar in style to their Eyewitness Books series, just bigger and full of great photographs and facts on RR history and ops. Great for kids and adults.

I read a pretty good novel about modern day American railroading when I was in Guyana (of all places). It was about two brothers working for a fictional RR and was just loaded with great stuff. If anybody knows the title and auther, please post it here or send me a note.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head that is of a general nature.
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