Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Coffee Table Book Party: "Railway Maps of the World"

We've met Mark Ovenden before in these, um, pages, with my lukewarm review of his collection of Paris subway ephemera.  

His latest straight-to-coffee table collection of maps and and imagery seems considerably more awesome to me, but then it's focused on a topic nearer to my heart: maps of national railroad networks.

A lot of the content is simply old railroad maps.  Hard to go wrong!

Mixed in with a fair share of map-related railroad ephemera:

Intermixed with all of this are a number of short essays on various topics related to railroad history.  These are fun, well-chosen, and -- which is not always true in a book of this type -- accurate!  So, you've got some content to chew on while gazing at the pretty pictures, which is nice.

My favorite part of "Railway Maps" is the back half, which attempts a country-by-country atlas of rail networks.

It's a very mixed bag of historical, contemporary, and custom-made maps, with captions that provide some background about way the networks are the way they are, and what the implications are for the economic development of the countries involved.  (note for the skeptical: railroads were historically about the most important thing that ever happened after, say, the fall of the Roman Empire, and remain pretty critical in keeping civilization as we know it afloat)

Railroads!  Maps!  Nuggets of knowledge!  Pretty much a top-of-the-line coffee table book, if you ask me.   Still selling for close to the $35 cover price, though, so my plan is to wait a few years and then swoop down on a used copy.


UnwiseOwl said...

Oh you Americans have it so good.
$35 dollars is the approximate price of any new book in Australia. A beautiful thing like that would be at least $60-$70.
Hence the collapse of the book industry here.

Jenners said...

This seems custom made for you!

Michael5000 said...

Well, custom made for me of a few decades ago. But still.

Aviatrix said...

I`m with UO. I thought at first glance that you were saying you got a $35 discount, i.e. half price.

Michael5000 said...

Owl, Trixie: I'm just quoting a price off of Amazon. All y'all can get Amazon in the other large continent-spanning English-speaking nations too, can't ya?

mhwitt said...

I'd like a copy of the book, but would prefer it had never been touched by bare toes.

Michael5000 said...

My toes are kept in a state of scrupulous cleanliness at all times.