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Author Topic: Lock-down Reading Recommendations!  (Read 261 times)

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Offline NeMo

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Lock-down Reading Recommendations!
« on: March 24, 2020, 09:36:02 AM »
Dear all,

I thought it might be fun to suggest some (railway and/or modelling?) books to help pass the time while we're all stuck indoors. Amazon and other bookstores still deliver, which is at least some good news in these troubling times.

To get things started, here are three suggestions from me:

Castles to Warships: On the Great Western Footplate
Books about locomotives are usually written by enthusiasts or retired engineers of one sort of another; books written by the footplate men are rather rarer. I've picked up a few over the years, and they're usually autobiographical to some extent, describing the driver's progression 'up the links' from the shed dogsbody to the driver of express passenger trains. This book is better than most, not just because it's so readable, but because it spans the transition era from steam to diesel. It does that without sentimentality, the benefits of working diesels over steam quickly becoming apparent to the author, even if he does have rather more faith in the reliability of steam over the diesels replacing them.

The Leader Project: Fiasco or Triumph?
A book about what is surely one of the most notorious prototypes in British steam history. Plenty of illustrations and photos, this book treats a subject that everyone thinks they know about with some very welcome skepticism. The author has written other books and articles on this topic, but this is the most modern summary, and I think all the better for it, summarising what's been said in previous books in a brisk but comprehensive way. There's a good balance between technical details and more casual reportage of the development and road trials of the locomotive. By the end you have a lot more sympathy for what Bulleid was trying to achieve, even if the design was deeply flawed.

Western Glory (photographs of the Class 52s 1975-1977)
An antidote to the usual albums of photos that lack of passion for their subject. Here the author captures those hot summer days of the Seventies, as he matures into a man and learns about railways from his father. There's a real sense of time and passion running through the captions, which elevates this book far beyond the sort of books we see devoted to diesel classes. I just love this book! The fact the photos are new and reproduced in full colour adds to its charm, and given the authors access to the railway, many are taken from unusual locations.

Cheers, NeMo
NGS Journal Editor

Offline anselm

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Re: Lock-down Reading Recommendations!
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2020, 12:59:31 PM »


Castles to Warships: On the Great Western Footplate
Books about locomotives are usually written by enthusiasts or retired engineers of one sort of another; books written by the footplate men are rather rarer. I've picked up a few over the years, and they're usually autobiographical to some extent, describing the driver's progression 'up the links' from the shed dogsbody to the driver of express passenger trains. This book is better than most, not just because it's so readable, but because it spans the transition era from steam to diesel. It does that without sentimentality, the benefits of working diesels over steam quickly becoming apparent to the author, even if he does have rather more faith in the reliability of steam over the diesels replacing them.

Many thanks for the suggestion.  A copy now winging its way to me courtesy of Amazon.

Offline Jon898

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Re: Lock-down Reading Recommendations!
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2020, 01:03:40 PM »
If you can find it, the late David Shepherd's "A Brush With Steam" would be a good read about his efforts rescuing old engines.  Sadly out of print and no, I'm not going to sell my signed copy.

Jon

Offline tutenkhamunsleeping

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Re: Lock-down Reading Recommendations!
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2020, 01:10:58 PM »
On the non-rail side of things, I'm currently half-way through Hilary Mantel's latest, 'The Mirror & the Light' :thumbsup:

If they'd had Railways in Henry VIII's time, I'm sure Thomas Cromwell would have added a Beeching-like position to his portfolio ;)

Online Bealman

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Re: Lock-down Reading Recommendations!
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2020, 02:47:53 PM »
Members may also like to look at our comprehensive Book Reviews section further down the forum page.  :thumbsup:
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Lock-down Reading Recommendations!
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2020, 03:21:01 PM »
On the non-rail side of things, I'm currently half-way through Hilary Mantel's latest, 'The Mirror & the Light' :thumbsup:

If they'd had Railways in Henry VIII's time, I'm sure Thomas Cromwell would have added a Beeching-like position to his portfolio ;)

@tutenkhamunsleeping
Maybe the Shardlake series of books by C.J. Sansum is right up your strasse, Steve :hmmm:
I'm now on book 4 of the 6 I bought off Fleabay

Offline tutenkhamunsleeping

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Re: Lock-down Reading Recommendations!
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2020, 03:24:28 PM »
Maybe the Shardlake series of books by C.J. Sansum is right up your strasse, Steve :hmmm:
I'm now on book 4 of the 6 I bought off Fleabay

Noted.  I'm definitely in the mood for more of the same, assuming I'm not permanently hypnotised by the Blue Pullman circling the running-in track :D

Offline dannyboy

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Re: Lock-down Reading Recommendations!
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2020, 03:31:40 PM »
There have been some reviews on the 'Book Reviews' thread, but I can thoroughly recommend the fictional 'Railway Detective' series of books by Edward Marston, especially if you can read them in chronological order. Each book is a story in its own right, but the private lives of the detectives is a thread throughout the books. Edward Marston has written a few series of books, from Elizabethan times to World War I.
David.
I used to be indecisive - now I'm not - I don't think.
If a friend seems distant, catch up with him.

Offline NeMo

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Re: Lock-down Reading Recommendations!
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2020, 03:33:23 PM »
There have been some reviews on the 'Book Reviews' thread...

Yes, but the last post seems to have been summer 2019, so I thought kickstarting a new discussion might help pass the time.  ;)

Cheers, Neale
NGS Journal Editor

Offline dannyboy

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Re: Lock-down Reading Recommendations!
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2020, 03:46:12 PM »
What I should have said is that there have been some reviews regarding 'The Railway Detective', but this thread is a good idea.  :thumbsup:
David.
I used to be indecisive - now I'm not - I don't think.
If a friend seems distant, catch up with him.

Online Bealman

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Re: Lock-down Reading Recommendations!
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2020, 04:09:45 PM »
Maybe the Shardlake series of books by C.J. Sansum is right up your strasse, Steve :hmmm:
I'm now on book 4 of the 6 I bought off Fleabay

Noted.  I'm definitely in the mood for more of the same, assuming I'm not permanently hypnotised by the Blue Pullman circling the running-in track :D

 :drool: :drool: :drool:
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline Jeff_W

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Re: Lock-down Reading Recommendations!
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2020, 07:48:15 AM »
I think TrainLife has the entirety of Railmodel Journal up on their site in PDF form. I think the earliest date is 1989. It's U.S. based, but if you're like me and don't mind reading about anything train related, it might be worth a look: https://trainlife.com/pages/rail-model-journal-magazine-archive

 

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