It seems difficult even to imagine the modern West without reference to its planes, trains, and automobiles. Freeways define modern Los Angeles, as Route 66 still recalls the freedom of the open road. Seattle, long home to Boeing, gave birth to jetliners such as the 707. And once trains with glamorous names like The Sunset Limited and The Great Northern Flyer carried passengers in posh luxury through the grand vistas of the West. "Railways, highways, and skyways link landscapes both ordinary and sublime for tourists in search of scenic splendor," observes Carlos Arnaldo Schwantes. But those same corridors often leaven despair with opportunity for those who dream that the mobility brought by car, train, and plane will help them find better jobs or escape from their pasts.
Going Places looks at three major ways in which transportation has shaped the great Western landscape. There are the transformations brought about by a railroad right-of-way, highway corridors, waterways, and airports, and the larger impacts of transportation on the landscape, such as the development that followed the iron rails westward. Finally, Schwantes considers how travelers experience the passing landscape as framed by the windows of automobiles, passenger trains, and jetliners, and what that might mean. He examines the interconnections between railroad, highway, aviation, and waterways, and between society and modes of transportation. This masterful narrative travels the length and breadth of a vast space, with marvelous anecdotes and telling details that bring the story to life. More than 100 carefully selected photographs complement the text.
In this lively and interpretive essay on transportation and its impact on the modern American West, Schwantes (transportation studies and the West, Univ. of Missouri, Saint Louis) explores the dynamics of rail, air, and automotive transport as they shaped the growth of the nation. The transformative aspects of railways, roads, waterways, and airports are discussed, as are the larger impact on the landscape as population growth followed. Finally, Schwantes analyzes how the windows of automobiles, trains, and planes frame the passing landscape in distinctive ways for travelers. Though scholarly, this book is lively enough for lay readers; rich detail and anecdotes are used to illustrate the impact of the three modes of transportation on social and economic life in the 20th century. Adding to the reader's enjoyment are nearly 100 photographs and reproductions of advertising materials and images of early trains, planes, and cars. Highly recommended.-Eric C. Shoaf, Brown Univ. Lib., Providence Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.