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This is a fascinating book and gives a real insight into the social and political impact of the railways, but maybe it suffers a little from being too broad and too fond of a travelogue style.
The author's claim that railways were the most important invention of the second millennium is possibly too great a reach - after all the railways came as a consequence of the industrial revolution - but he certainly makes a very strong case for their fundamental impact on all aspects of human society. It is just, through his desire to cover all the continents in a similar depth and to come right up to the present he misses an opportunity to give us a deeper perspective.
Well voiced and easy to listen to.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
The author does a wonderful job here of writing up the history of all the world's railways in a single volume. Thats a big undertaking and of course not every branch line in Patagonia is described in detail. But for non-Patagonians the coverage and selection of material seems admirable, remarkable even given its scope. Wolmar has a lively personal style done full justice by the reader, Tudor Barnes. Railways are a hugely important part of world history over the past two centuries and as the author reminds, rumours of their demise are certainly exaggerated. Picturesque and full of surprises, this is a great book for anyone who appreciates railways past & present.
A gripping and educational history of the growth of railroads worldwide and their future potential.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The author opened the book explaining the limitations of what the book covered. He delivered 100% on the promised limitations. Wolmar provides a good survey of the development of railroads around the world, but too little detail on the specifics.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful