Railroads and the American People

  • by H. Roger Grant
  • Narrated by Todd Barsness
  • 12 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this social history of the impact of railroads on American life, H. Roger Grant concentrates on the railroad's "Golden Age," 1830-1930. To capture the essence of the nation's railroad experience, Grant explores four fundamental topics - trains and travel, train stations, railroads and community life, and the legacy of railroading in America. Grant recalls the lasting memories left by train travel, both of luxurious Pullman cars and the grit and grind of coal-powered locals.
He discusses the important role railroads played for towns and cities across America, not only for the access they provided to distant places and distant markets but also for the depots that were a focus of community life. Finally, Grant reviews the lasting heritage of the railroads as it has been preserved in word, stone, paint, and memory. Railroads and the American People is a sparkling paean to American railroading by one of its finest historians.
The book is published by Indiana University Press.


What the Critics Say

"With its wealth of vignettes... Railroads and the American People does a fine job of humanizing the iron horse" (Wall Street Journal)
"With plenty of detail, Grant brings a bygone era back to life, addressing everything from social and commercial appeal, racial and gender issues, safety concerns, and leaps in technology. But Grant never loses sight of the big picture and the essential role the railroads played in American life. He writes with authority and clarity in a work that can appeal to both casual and hardcore enthusiasts." (Publishers Weekly)
"Is it necessary to comment on an established author such as Roger Grant. Heavens, he is a fine scholar and writes better than Hemingway!" (John White, author of The American Railroad Passenger Car)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

great history of railroad life in America

If you could sum up Railroads and the American People in three words, what would they be?

History, Railroads, Culture

What was one of the most memorable moments of Railroads and the American People?

I enjoyed the history of depots and the agents who lived there

Which character – as performed by Todd Barsness – was your favorite?

Not really in characters in this one

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

How railroads created America

Any additional comments?

Great history of railroads and life in America.

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- Gene Bowker "Gene Bowker"

Fascinating Story, Poor Editing, Strange Narration

What would have made Railroads and the American People better?

Terrible Editing
While I am not a extreme railroad fan, I am very interested in its history especially in the United States, but the writing and editing was amateurish. The writer seemed to have a thesaurus at one side and a list of cliches on the other. He used a number of unnecessary words such as "opined." He uses "opined a modern day hobo" or "opined a writer" or "opined a youthful railroad fan." He uses "reported" 28 times. He uses "said one" five times which doesn't mean anything. "Said one engineer" or "said one resident" as if he took a survey and determined that only person had that thought or he was in a group and only one spoke up. Referring to WWI as "the Great War" five times added nothing to the book as well "lad" nine times or "residents" 66 times.
If this If it had been any other subject, I would not have gotten past the first few minutes of this book. The narrator seemed to think that he was reading for a commercial with way too much emphasis on the end of sentences or short passages. And, then when he pronounced "te-LEG-grapher" "te-LOG-grapher" repeatedly I was ready to scream.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Railroads and the American People?

The Subject

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Todd Barsness?

Just about anybody

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Railroads and the American People?

None, but I would have edited the book to get rid of the cliches and verboseness.

Any additional comments?

The space for the review of the book is hugely too long. I thought there was nothing below it.

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- alexyakkavoo

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-26-2013
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks