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The Hiawatha Story

Jim Scribbins

First there was a single experimental coach, then an entire fleet. Soon Hiawatha was a railway legend. Loved for their radically new, streamlined look, the Hiawatha’s Art Deco engines were a hallmark of American industrial design—a genre of passenger cars from Tip Top Tap to Touralux to the glass-encased Skytop. For Midwestern passengers from Chicago to Aberdeen, the Hiawatha represented speed, comfort, and luxury, offering spectacular views of the rolling landscape. From 1935 to 1970 it carried countless passengers and even more memories. Richly illustrated with more than 350 photographs, The Hiawatha Story brings the design and history of this beloved rail fleet to life.

 

Jim Scribbins had a lifetime career at Milwaukee Road and is the author of five books about upper Midwestern railroads. He lives in West Bend, Wisconsin.

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History of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad

Maury Klein

" After the Civil War, the Louisville & Nashville Railroad took the lead among southern railroads in developing rail systems and organizing transcontinental travel. Through two world wars, federal government control, internal crises, external dissension, the Depression, and the great Ohio River flood of 1937, the L&N Railroad remained one of the country's most efficient lines. It is a southern institution and a railroad buff's dream. When eminent railroad historian Maury Klein's definitive History of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad was first published in 1972, it quickly became one of the most sought after books on railroad history. This new edition both restores a hard-to-find classic to print and provides a new introduction by Klein detailing the L&N's history in the thirty years since the book was first published.

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A History of the World in Sixteen Shipwrecks

Stewart Gordon

Roman triremes of the Mediterranean. The treasure fleet of the Spanish Main. Great ocean liners of the Atlantic. Stories of disasters at sea fire the imagination as little else can, whether the subject is a historical wreck—the Titanic or the Bismark—or the recent capsizing of a Mediterranean cruise ship. Shipwrecks also make for a new and very different understanding of world history. A History of the World in Sixteen Shipwrecks explores the ages-long, immensely hazardous, persistently romantic, and still-ongoing process of moving people and goods across far-flung maritime worlds.

Telling the stories of ships and the people who made and sailed them, from the earliest ancient-Nile craft to the Exxon Valdez, A History of the World in Sixteen Shipwrecks argues that the gradual integration of localized and separate maritime regions into fewer, larger, and more interdependent regions offers a unique window on world history. Stewart Gordon draws a number of provocative conclusions from his study, among them that the European “Age of Exploration” as a singular event is simply a myth—many cultures, east and west, explored far-flung maritime worlds over the millennia—and that technologies of shipbuilding and navigation have been among the main drivers of science and technology throughout history. Finally, A History of the World in Sixteen Shipwrecks shows in a series of compelling narratives that the development of institutions and technologies that made terrifying oceans familiar, and turned unknown seas into sea-lanes, profoundly matters in our modern world.

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The Hook and Eye

A History of the Iowa Central Railway

Don L. Hofsommer

Fearing the rapacious power of Chicago’s railroad system in the mid-1900s, Iowa Central Railway supporters fought for a north-south route across the state that would link Minneapolis and St. Paul with St. Louis. Such a route would put the needs of Iowa’s citizens first and provide transportation for the state’s agricultural and industrial trade. 

Analyzing the origins, growth, and eventual dismantling of the Iowa Central Railway, which traversed the state from Ackley to Zearing and Mason City to Marshalltown, Don Hofsommer examines how this unremarkable, “plain vanilla” railway was an example of the life cycle of the American railroad industry. The Hook & Eye demonstrates its symbiotic relationship with its customers. Born in ambition but never rising far above its obscure origins, the Iowa Central eventually fell to outside competition from railroads based in greater metropolitan areas and was made part of the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway in 1912. 

Drawing the story from station records, annual reports, newspaper articles, and interviews with former employees, The Hook & Eye brings both the industry and human sides of railroading into sharp and memorable view. 

Don L. Hofsommer is a native Iowan and professor of history at St. Cloud State University.

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Ice Ship

The Epic Voyages of the Polar Adventurer Fram

Charles W. Johnson

In the golden age of polar exploration (from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s), many an expedition set out to answer the big question—was the Arctic a continent, an open ocean beyond a barrier of ice, or an ocean covered with ice? No one knew, for the ice had kept its secret well; ships trying to penetrate it all failed, often catastrophically. Norway’s charismatic scientist-explorer Fridtjof Nansen, convinced that it was a frozen ocean, intended to prove it in a novel if risky way: by building a ship capable of withstanding the ice, joining others on an expedition, then drifting wherever it took them, on a relentless one-way journey into discovery and fame . . . or oblivion.

Ice Ship is the story of that extraordinary ship, the Fram, from conception to construction, through twenty years of three epic expeditions, to its final resting place as a museum. It is also the story of the extraordinary men who steered the Fram over the course of 84,000 miles: on a three-year, ice-bound drift, finding out what the Arctic really was; in a remarkable four-year exploration of unmapped lands in the vast Canadian Arctic; and on a two–year voyage to Antarctica, where another famous Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen, claimed the South Pole.

Ice Ship will appeal to all those fascinated with polar exploration, maritime adventure, and wooden ships, and will captivate readers of such books as The Endurance, In the Heart of the Sea, and The Last Place on Earth. With more than 100 original photographs, the book brings the Fram to life and light.

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Images from the Arsenal of Democracy

Charles K. Hyde

While researching his previous study, Arsenal of Democracy: The American Automobile Industry in World War II (Wayne State University Press, 2013), award-winning automotive historian Charles K. Hyde discovered the many remarkable photos that were part of the era’s historical documentation. In Images from the Arsenal of Democracy, Hyde presents a selection of nearly three hundred of these documentary photos in striking black and white, with brief captions. Taken together, the images create a captivating portrait of this crucial moment in American business, military, and cultural history. Images from the Arsenal of Democracy spans from 1940 until the end of the war, presenting up-close, rarely seen views of newly built plants and repurposed production lines, a staggering variety of war products and components, and the many workers behind Detroit’s wartime production miracles. The human faces that Hyde presents are especially compelling, as photos show the critical role played by previously underused workers—namely women and African Americans. Images from the Arsenal is divided into chapters by theme, including “Preparing for War before Pearl Harbor”; “Planning Defense Production after Pearl Harbor”; “Aircraft Engines and Propellers”; “Aircraft Components and Complete Aircraft”; “Tanks and Other Armored Vehicles”; “Jeeps, Trucks, and Amphibious Vehicles”; “Guns, Shells, Bullets, and Other War Goods”; “The New Workers”; and “Celebrating the Production Achievements.” The first comprehensive and detailed history drawn solely from the surviving photographic record of wartime Detroit, Images from the Arsenal will be appreciated by automotive historians, World War II scholars, and American history buffs.

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Iowa's Railroads

An Album

Edited by Don L. Hofsommer and H. Roger Grant

At one point in time, no place in Iowa was more than a few miles from an active line of rail track. In this splendid companion volume to Steel Trails of Hawkeyeland (IUP, 2005), H. Roger Grant and Don L. Hofsommer explore the pivotal role that railroads played in the urban development of the state as well as the symbiotic relationship Iowa and its rails shared. With more than 400 black-and-white photographs, a solid inventory of depots and locations, and new information that is sure to impress even the most well-versed railfan, this detailed history of the state's railroads—including the Chicago & North Western, Cedar Rapids & Iowa City, and the Iowa Northern—will be an essential reference for railroad fans and historians, artists, and model railroad builders.

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The Iron Road in the Prairie State

The Story of Illinois Railroading

Simon Cordery

In 1836, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas agreed on one thing: Illinois needed railroads. Over the next fifty years, the state became the nation’s railroad hub, with Chicago at its center. Speculators, greed, growth, and regulation followed as the railroad industry consumed unprecedented amounts of capital and labor. A nationwide market resulted, and the Windy City became the site of opportunities and challenges that remain to this day. In this first-of-its-kind history, full of entertaining anecdotes and colorful characters, Simon Cordery describes the explosive growth of Illinois railroads and its impact on America. Cordery shows how railroading in Illinois influenced railroad financing, the creation of a national economy, and government regulation of business. Cordery's masterful chronicle of rail development in Illinois from 1837 to 2010 reveals how the state’s expanding railroads became the foundation of the nation’s rail network.

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John W. Garrett and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad

Kathleen Waters Sander

Chartered in 1827 as the country’s first railroad, the legendary Baltimore and Ohio played a unique role in the nation’s great railroad drama and became the model for American railroading. John W. Garrett, who served as president of the B&O from 1858 to 1884, ranked among the great power brokers of the time. In this gripping and well-researched account, historian Kathleen Waters Sander tells the story of the B&O’s beginning and its unprecedented plan to build a rail line from Baltimore over the Allegheny Mountains to the Ohio River, considered to be the most ambitious engineering feat of its time. The B&O’s success ignited "railroad fever" and helped to catapult railroading to America’s most influential industry in the nineteenth century.

Taking the B&O helm during the railroads’ expansive growth in the 1850s, Garrett soon turned his attention to the demands of the Civil War. Sander explains how, despite suspected Southern sympathies, Garrett became one of President Abraham Lincoln's most trusted confidantes and strategists, making the B&O available for transporting Northern troops and equipment to critical battles. The Confederates attacked the B&O 143 times, but could not put "Mr. Lincoln’s Road" out of business. After the war, Garrett became one of the first of the famed Gilded Age tycoons, rising to unimagined power and wealth. Sander explores how—when he was not fighting fierce railroad wars with competitors—Garrett steered the B&O into highly successful entrepreneurial endeavors, quadrupling track mileage to reach important commercial markets, jumpstarting Baltimore’s moribund postwar economy, and constructing lavish hotels in Western Maryland to open tourism in the region. Chronicling the epic technological transformations of the nineteenth century, from rudimentary commercial trade and primitive transportation westward to the railroads’ indelible impact on the country and the economy, John W. Garrett and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad is a vivid account of Garrett’s twenty-six-year reign. Sander brings to life the brazen risk-taking, clashing of oversized egos, and opulent lifestyles of the tycoons of the Gilded Age. Drawing from the manuscript collections of the B&O Museum, the Library of Congress, and numerous historical and railroad societies, this richly illustrated portrait of one man’s undaunted efforts to improve the B&O and advance its technology will appeal to general readers and railroad enthusiasts alike.

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Junkyards, Gearheads, and Rust

Salvaging the Automotive Past

David N. Lucsko

What happens to automobiles after they are retired but before they are processed as scrap? In this fascinating history, David N. Lucsko takes readers on a tour of salvage yards and wrecked or otherwise out-of-service cars in the United States from the point of view of gearheads—the hot rodders, restoration hobbyists, street rodders, and classic car devotees who reuse, repurpose, and restore junked cars.

Junkyards, Gearheads, and Rust is a nuanced exploration of the business of dismantling wrecks and selling second-hand parts. It examines the reinterpretation of these cars and parts by artists as well as their restoration by enthusiasts. It also surveys the origin and evolution of gearhead-oriented yards that specialize in specific types of automobiles; dissects the material and emotional appeal of the salvage yard and its contents among enthusiasts; and examines how zoning and nuisance ordinances have affected both salvage businesses and hobbyists.

Lucsko concludes with an analysis of efforts during the last twenty-five years to hasten vehicular obsolescence at the expense of salvage yards, mechanics, and enthusiasts. By examining how cars are salvaged, repurposed, and restored, this book demonstrates that the history of the automobile is much more than a running catalog of showroom novelties.

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