Product Details

Railroad Noir: The American West at the End of the Twentieth Century
Linda Niemann; photos Joel Jensen
Indiana U Press
ISBN or Item #
Date Listed:
2010-05-14 18:57:44
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Railroad Noir

The American West at the End of the Twentieth Century

Narratives by Linda Grant Niemann; Photographs by Joel Jensen.

Cloth with dust jacket, 11x9 horizontal format, 168 pages, 23 color / 17 b&w illustrations, map, index.

The darker side of railroad life

"Niemann's . . . writing style is excellent and it leads the reader to want to read on. . . . She has clearly conveyed her experiences as a railroad worker." - William D. Middleton, co-editor of The Encyclopedia of North American Railroads

"I've read many books on railroading and none of them have moved me in the way this book has. The photography is stunning, along the lines of Delano's work of the ’30s and ’40s." - Mitch Markovitz, veteran railroader, illustrator

"Culled from the 20 years she spent traveling the American West as a freight brakeman and conductor, Linda Grant Niemann's Railroad Noir delves into the darker side of railroading. The 1990s were a time of crisis for workers caught in the breakup of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Niemann's tales of exhaustion, alcoholism, homelessness, and corporate blundering present a revelatory account of railroading life. Photographer Joel Jensen realizes Niemann’s vision of the working West with images of cowboy bars, blue motels, and railroaders working in electrical storms, white-outs, and desert heat waves. The result is an honest, gritty, and striking collaboration.

"Linda Grant Niemann teaches creative nonfiction at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia. She is author of Boomer: Railroad Memoirs and Railroad Voices.

"Joel Jensen is a freelance photographer whose work has been featured in various publications."

Table of Contents

  1. Boomer in a Boom Town
  2. Breaking in Blues
  3. Blues for Ron
  4. Beet Inspector
  5. The Blue Motel
  6. The Big Four Bar
  7. Learning Spanish
  8. Organized Booming
  9. The Border
  10. On the Road Again
  11. A Starry Night
  12. Train to the Underworld
  13. Back to Work
  14. The Hospital Yard
  15. The Hopper at Granite Rock
  16. The Lawrence Switcher
  17. The Lord of the Night
  18. Midnight Train to Georgia
  19. The Spiritual Beauty of the Rails
  20. Old Head, New Hire

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