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Allies of the Earth: Railroads and the Soul of Preservation
Although few Americans use passenger trains today, we still love railroads. We say we want to preserve our national parks, countryside, and urban landscapes, yet we keep tearing into the best of them every day. Once abandoning railroads would have been unthinkable, but we have forgotten the importance of trains for our earth and for ourselves. Alfred Runte challenges our n ...more
Hardcover, 195 pages
Published January 5th 2006 by Truman State University Press
(first published January 1st 2006)
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Lyrical ode to railroads and emphatic call to bring them back. While I think he misses making some arguments, allowing that trains might NOT be cheaper or safer than cars, which I believe they are, the arguments he does make are irrefutable. His last two lines sum up this powerful and beautiful manifesto - The land would ask for trains. For the good of America the United, and America the Beautiful, we need to believe in the land again, and go by train.
First, my quibbles: could have used better editing plus there's a slightly odd stuffiness to the writing that may come across to some as whiney or preachy... BUT I really enjoyed the book and find myself agreeing with the author about what we lost when we gave up on the passenger train in America and sold our souls to the automobile. My doubts about the author are more self doubts, I think. ...more
I was recommended this book by the man who painted the cover, so it could go either way...However, I've read a lot of his op-eds, and Runte seems to be fairly confrontational...Maybe a little bitter? Probably won't get to this one until late in the year. ...more
Alfred Runte writes for a national following on the meaning and management of protected landscapes. Born and raised in Binghamton, New York, in the upper Susquehanna River Valley, he became the youngest board member of the Susquehanna Conservation Council. While fighting with others to preserve the river, he earned his B.A. from Harpur College of the State University of New York at Binghamton (no ...more
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