Train: The Definitive Visual History
What a fabulous surprise! Even better, brighter, bolder, bigger (yes, I noticed the dimensions in the product listing) than I'd anticipated, Smithsonian Train: The Definitive Visual History is visually delightful, informative, and inspiring.
From the embossed cover portrait of Southern Railway Locomotive 1401, to the detailed table of contents that lets you choose what to read about and learn about next, to the sumptuous feast of full colour photographs throughout, this has got to be one of the best books ever about any topic!
Although there's an extremely high ratio of images to text, histories and descriptions don't ramble, but tell you what you want to know. I especially love the final feature, How Railroads Work, Engines and Tracks (Signals, Wheels, Locomotives, etc.).
Like many people, I have some history with riding the rails: a couple of fairly long trips in the continental USA as a young kid, later as a teenager, then as a young adult; a few dozen or more Budd SPV-2000 - "Buddlliner" - jaunts to and from Boston and the North Shore of Boston; the almost impossibly efficient, on time EuroRail; and more recently the AmTrak. I remember returning to Salt Lake City from Southern Idaho Sunday evenings with a long freight train riding alongside the highway on our right and to the west; I can't count the times I waited at a RR crossing when I lived in Utah; who hasn't experienced with their entire being a train whistle piercing the night sky in small town rural, big city urban USA? My grandfather had planned to finish high school and then college, but got a job with the railway, at that time considered the future of the country, and never gave school another thought.
Another reviewed has outlined book content, so no need for a duplicate listing. Train is heavy to hold (both a lap book and a coffee table one), and very well bound. If you can describe a book as "Heirloom Quality," this one is for sure.
bright! bold! a treasure!