Classic Steam: Timeless Photographs of North America Steam Railroading

Classic Steam: Timeless Photographs of North America Steam Railroading



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781435114289
Publisher: Sterling
Publication date: 09/25/2009
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 12.76(w) x 12.34(h) x 1.02(d)

About the Author

John Gruber is president of the Center for Railroad Photography and Art, and editor of its journal, Railroad Heritage. He has been a freelance railroad photographer since 1960, and received a railroad history award from the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society in 1994 for lifetime achievement in photography. He is contributing editor to Classic Trains, and co-author of Caboose (2001), Travel by Train: The American Railroad Poster (2002), Railway Photography (2003), and Milwaukee Road's Hiawathas (2006). He edited Vintage Rails magazine from 1995 to 1999.

The foreword is contributed by William L. Withuhn, Curator, History of Technology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Recognized as one of America’s foremost authorities on railroad history, Bill authored the bestselling Spirit of Steam and was the Consultant Editor of, and key contributor to, the acclaimed Rails Across America: A History of Railroads in North America.

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Classic Steam: Timeless Photographs of North America Steam Railroading 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SteamFan More than 1 year ago
Photography by such greats as Dr. Phillip Hastings, Jim Shaughnessy, Richard Steinheimer, David Plowden, O.Winston Link, Jim Ehrenberger, Ted Rose, Richard Kindig, Mr. Gruber and many, many more, capture steam at its best. If you are a serious steam fan, photographer or both, you will enjoy this book. The price is misleading; it seems to be underpriced. I have paid much more for photography books of lesser quality.
charlienoble More than 1 year ago
This inexpensive book (thanks to B&N) was a surprise. Far better than I expected for the price. Well-organized photographs. The text is intelligently composed and free of jargon (or whimsy, for that matter). My shelves have many railroad books on them, and this one will be near the top (when I can at last put it down: it's a pleasure to look at and a joy to read). There was a reference to it in "Trains" magazine, which I nearly ignored as the usual hype. Now I'm glad I bought it,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book if you enjoy the steam era. The photograghs are taken by many of the best. All at the right price.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well done. Interesting variety of railroad subjects and personnel. Great photos of mechanical workhorses captured in their element.
route99west More than 1 year ago
The steam era of railroading in North America remains one of the most evocative subjects in transportation history. The period has become a romanticized, almost stereotyped part of the American narrative, part-and-parcel of our national myth along side Paul Revere, wagon trains on the Oregon Trail, and the storied two-lane blacktop of Route 66. Even to those far too young to have witnessed the steam era, the iconography of the word "train" remains the cartoon-like image of a steam locomotive, huffing and chuffing, belching steam, smoke, and cinders. In Classic Steam: Timeless Photographs of North American Steam Railroading, author John Gruber attempts to take us on a photographic trip back to that era. Having almost no interpretive text, this book is dedicated to the images themselves. Gruber has chosen to give us a rich range of photographers, including the likes of J. Parker Lamb, Richard Steinheimer, David Plowden, Jim Shaughnessy, and Phil Hastings. Each photograph in the work is accompanied by insightful, sometimes lengthy captions. Classic Steam puzzled me from the first glance. This is a thick volume - it is over 200 pages after all, and weighs a total of five pounds. It is, in short, a tank, with a massive amount of content stuffed into it. Between the sheer number of images and (at first) unclear organizational method, it seems to lack focus. Even after grasping the organizational idea, there's still the feeling that there's just too much there. The book would benefit from tighter organization, or less overall content, or best of all more text to provide a narrative upon which to hang this large collection of images. It is only after considering the broad range of photographic talent within the volume that the book begins to make some sense. Classic Steam is not a comprehensive illustrated history, nor a book about the photography of steam era railroading. Instead, it is a general pictorial, in every way the spiritual successor to the many works of Beebe and Clegg, mentioned by Gruber in his introduction and included among the ranks of the photographers in the book. Like this duo, Gruber includes a wide selection of the best photographers, has a ranging taste in subjects, and happily includes his own (thoroughly deserving) photographs along side those of his contributors. Overall, Classic Steam is one of the more comprehensive photographic anthologies of steam era railroading produced in the last half century. Unlike many consumer oriented generalist books, Gruber has assembled an "all-star" cast of photographers and content. Although the book has some flaws - mostly due to a lack of enough text "backbone" - it is a huge endeavor and when the price is considered it becomes likely the best book deal in a long long time. Although the book frustratingly lacks much in the way of an interpretive history, a photographer may find this to be the greatest bargain way of sampling some of the most meaningful railroad photographers of the mid 20th Century. In addition, those with a general interest in railroad history or those seeking a gift for a young person with a budding interest in railroads would be well advised to pick up a copy. In some ways, this successor to the tradition of Beebe and Clegg is just that, a gift to the author's young grandson and an attempt to convey to that generation a precious experience before all traces of its memory are lost. A longer version of this review is at
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a coffee table type book, but has enough text to illuminate the wonderful photography. Any book or any museum chronicling steam trains is unique, because collections in general reflect what the collector can obtain, see, or study. There were thousands of steam engines manufactured during their 150+ years of use, so a student needs a variety of sources to learn about and see most of them. The photography in this book is excellent and the text is readable, so it is a good general compilation of a large segment of the industry. If you like steam engines, I'm guessing you'll love this book.
steamchsr More than 1 year ago
I was surprised to see that Barnes & Noble is selling Classic Steam as a bargain book. The quality of writing, photography, design, and printing is better than most railroad books that sell for far more. I like the many human interest stories in the book.
Mel_Patrick More than 1 year ago
Don't let the low price of this book fool you; the text, layout and printing quality make this a worthy purchase at any level. A quick glance through the pages reveals just how many of the images are themselves priceless, for pictured by a number of very talented photographers is the feel and fascination of steam powered locomotives of all sizes and locations. If you like railroading, you'll love this book. Be careful, for the images may lead to your addiction to the smoke, sounds and feel of fascinating steam locomotives. Disclosure: I know the author, I have 1 (little) photo in the book, and I am myself a victim of steam locomotive addiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
rail_photographer More than 1 year ago
"Buy it, read it, love it," says Angela Pusztai-Pasternak in February issue.
therailgallery More than 1 year ago
Classic Steam features a great collection of imagery of railroads past. With authoritative research and stunning visuals it's a must have for anyone interested in railroads or who longs to reminisce about the drama of steam.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago