Summer Reading From L&N Magazine

Summer Reading Suggestions from the L&N Magazine 1974
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Front of L&N Magazine
Back of L&N Magazine


May of us today still enjoy thumbing through the pages of a real book. Be it hard cover or soft back, the pages are fun to turn and can induce a bit of anticipation for what the next page holds.  While digging around in our archive, we stumble upon the SUMMER BOOK FAIR reviews by Ed Thomas and Charlie Castner as printed in the May-June 1974 FAREWELL Edition of the L&N Magazine.  We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.

These days, there’s literally a roundhouse of railroading books available-for summertime or year-round reading. For railroaders, modelers, buffs, travelers or simply folks with a “soft spot” for our fascinating industry, our Summer Book Fair has something for all rail-oriented reading appetites!

Many titles given below are new; others have been re­ viewed before but are still in print. All can be obtained from local bookstores or ordered directly from the publishers.

On Railroads and Rail History . . .

HISTORY OF THE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS, byR. Stevens: the MacMillan Company, $12.95-A big book about the biggest railway in the Western hemisphere, this CN History tells of the building of the first lines in the vast wilderness of Canada and the later amalgamation of the several provincial railroads into a unified transcontinental system. The CN story is a readable object lesson, detailing one of the more successful ventures by government in managing and providing enterprises for a public utility.

EAST CAROLINA RAILWAY, by Capt. Henry C. Bridgers; T & E Publishers of Louisville, Ky.; $9.75-A nostalgic look at the life and times of a colorful backwoods short-line railroad, as told by the son of the road’s founder and first president.

CHICAGO AND NORTH WESTERN, by Patrick C. Dorin; Superior Publishing Co.; $12.95-Essentially a review of C&NW’s motive power and operations, 1900-1970. However, C&NW’s antecedents go back to 1848 and Chicago’s first railroad, the Galena & Chicago Union, is covered in a historical sketch.

GEORGIA-WEST POINT ROUTE LOCOMOTIVES and HISTORY, by Richard E. Prince; Hardman-Parmer, Inc., Kensington, Md. $10.00-Second edition of fine, out-of-print study by former L&N’er Prince of Georgia-West Point lines: history, motive power, and trains, from 1830’s (and beginning years of rail transportation in the South) to dieselization.

RAILWAYS AND WAR BEFORE 1918, by Denis Bishop and Keith Davies, The MacMillan Company, New York; $4.95- Profusely illustrated, mostly in color, this little volume covers the use of railroads by the military, from the Crimean Cam­ paign in 1854-56 up to, but not including World War II. The book concentrates on the more-unusual aspects-mortars on rails and other truck-mounted equipment-but also includes the most famous “war engine” of them all, The General. Enough said for most of the fans!

Glorious Age of Steam Revisited …

EARLY AMERICAN LOCOMOTIVES, edited by John H. White, Jr., Dover Publications; $3.50-Still within memory of most of us are modern steam engines which powered the “limiteds” and tonnage freights until dieselization in the 1950’s. Much less familiar are primeval “tea kettles” and “grasshoppers” of railroading’s formative decades. But rare engravings bring them to life, along with authoritative text in this volume edited by a leading rail historian.

RIDING THE LIMITEDS’ LOCOMOTIVES, by Colonel Howard Hill, USAR-ret.; Superior Publishing Co.; $12.95-The author, a former lubrication expert and motive-power de­ signer, invites readers to ride the cabs of engines powering America’s most celebrated trains, the Broadway, and Twentieth Century Limiteds, on test trips he made in their heydays.

1940 CAR BUILDERS’ CYCLOPEDIA, reprinted by Kalbach Publishing Co., Milwaukee; $40-A companion work to the well-known Locomotive Cyclopedias, Car Builders served as the basic industry “bible” on passenger and freight cars, car parts, repair shops and shop equipment in a busy, transitional era in American railroading. Kalmbach’s “Cyc” is a precise reproduction of a long-out-of-print publication.

TWILIGHT OF WORLD STEAM, by Ron Ziel and Mike Eagleson; Grossett & Dunlap Publishers, New York; $14.95-lf King Steam was usurped from his throne in North America by 1960, his demise elsewhere in the world did not come until fairly recently. Authors Ziel and Eagleson visited some 55 countries in the late 1960’s and early ‘7O’s to make photo­ graphic record of steam’s last stand. Happily, they found the energy crunch will keep some steamers chugging a while longer in at least a half-dozen lands!

PORTRAIT OF THE RAILS, from Steam to Diesel, by Don Ball, Jr., New York Graphic Society, Ltd., Greenwich, Conn. $19.95-A whopper 295-page photo essay of one man’s affection for railroading in the steam, steam-to-diesel, and diesel eras. Ball’s gallery includes pictures on L&N, ACL, Seaboard and RF&P, along with other major U.S. and Canadian lines. Shots by Ball and other top rail photographers present a magnificent picture review of trains today and yesterday.

On Train Travel, Yesterday and Today …

THE DOMELINERS-A Pictorial History of the Penthouse Trains, by Patrick C. Dorin; Superior Publishing Co.; $13.95- For years, passengers aboard the “name” trains of North America crowded onto observation platforms to view track­ side scenery. Then, just after World War 11, the Vista Dome, with its glassed-in roof, ushered in a new dimension of rail travel. Bubble Tops, Stratadomes, Skytops and other dome cars quickly joined consists of scores of streamliners, including the pre-Amtrak South Wind and Florida Special. Photos, plans and details of the dome cars, plus a sampling of their use across the nation, round out Darin’s essay, especially appealing to inveterate rail travelers.

JOURNEY TO AMTRAK, by Harold A. Edmonson, KalmbachPublishing Co.; $6.50-lt’s been a bit over three years since Amtrak began running most of the nation’s passenger trains, and this beautifully printed, slick-paper volume contains pictures of many crack trains during the “countdown to May…” For those who want to relive those parting hours and witness the new services which followed, this book offers the best way to do it!

There’s a DIESEL Generation, Too! …

SECOND DIESEL SPOTTERS GUIDE, by Jerry Pinkepank; Kalmbach Publishing Co.; $6.95-An enlarged, updated version of the author’s earlier cataloging of diesels, Guide gives convincing proof that internal-combustion power for railroads also comes in “57 varieties,” as did steam before it. There’s fine coverage, too, of dieseldom’s ancestry in the “teens” and 1920’s, when railroads examined (but didn’t often buy} that then-new-fangled motive-power mode.

About L&N and Louisville …

LOUISVILLE & NASHVILLE, by Maury Klein; the MacMillan Company, $10.92-The definitive history of this railroad and the men with operational and organizational expertise who built it from the regional carrier of Civil War years to the South’s first complete system and, in this century, into one of America’s great railroads.

CHURCHILL DOWNS 100TH KENTUCKY DERBY, edited by BobGorham, Churchill Downs, Inc., Louisville; $5.50 hardcover, $4.50 softbound-Issued as part of the centennial of the derby, this book contains everything one will ever want to know about the 99 other “Runs for the Roses,” beginning with Aristides, winner of the first one in May 1875. Hundreds of pictures of winners, owners, trainers and nostalgic shots of the historic Churchill Downs itself make this worth the price at any track odds! Full-color views of the 1973 Derby add frosting. Editor’s note: To whet the reader’s appetite for this volume, we recommend a careful perusal of Charlie Castner’s “Derby 100” story, starting on page 8, this issue.

The L&N  Magazine-May-June 1974

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