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Amtrak: An American Story Paperback – June 7, 2011


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Paperback, June 7, 2011
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Amtrak: An American Story + Amtrak Across America: An Illustrated History + All Aboard: The Complete North American Train Travel Guide
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Kalmbach Books (June 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871164442
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871164445
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The Staff of Amtrak is based in Washington, D.C.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 25 customer reviews
The quality of the photos is excellent, as is the book itself.
David W. Richter
I feel it's worth the money and you'll find yourself picking up the book and rereading certain sections again.
planenut
I recommend this book to railfans interested in Amtrak and passenger trains.
Robert Wilhelm

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Kris on June 18, 2011
Verified Purchase
This is a great picture book with rare photographs. Like it or not, it is published by Amtrak folks, but the pictures don't lie. This is a worthwhile, historical record of the same caliber of the Making of the Washington DC Metro book. It's has several photographs of rare scenes, including one of the infamous Union Station Washington DC Visitors' Center, something that has curiously few photographs to see.

If you're a fan of passenger trains and understand the significance of the forty-year anniversary of a public/private corporation that was designed to fail, you need this book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Frederick S. Goethel VINE VOICE on June 28, 2011
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If you are even a little younger than I am (mid 50s), you will have a hard time remembering the creation of Amtrak. I was a junior in high school when it was created and I barely remember this happening, despite being a rail fan at a young age. That alone makes this a valuable book, as there are millions of people who fail to understand just how amazing it is that Amtrak is still alive and kicking.

The book consists of three basic parts interwoven together. Every 3 or 4 pages there is a page or 2 that is dedicated to the story of an Amtrak employee. Most all are people who have either been at the company since the beginning or have had amazing stories while at the company, all of which makes for fascinating reading. The space in between the stories is dedicated to well captioned photos of the railroad. The photographs cover just about the entire Amtrak operation and include copies of posters, brochures and advertising material that has long gone out of use. Finally, there is a timeline that runs along the top of the pages which shows major milestones in Amtrak history, along with major events in world history that help put the time frame into perspective.

The last 10% of the book is dedicated to a day in the life sort of photograph arrangement. They asked employees on one single day to photograph whatever they felt was worthy and send it in to the corporate offices. The result is a look at the railroad from across the span of a day and a country. Although these are "amateur" photographs, most are extremely well done and it is obvious that the employees put much thought into what they thought was important to portray.

Although this is not a "detailed" history, it makes for fine reading and would be a wonderful addition to a train buffs library. It is also a look at a piece of American history and should be of interest to those with an interest in history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. R. DINGS on October 7, 2013
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It's more of a historical view and looking at some workers more than a look at how the actual working of running trains for Amtrak
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mac on February 18, 2012
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I am a rail fan, it is a complete history of Amtrak from the beginning up to the present. I ride Amtrak frequently for leisure.The photos were great!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David W. Richter on September 7, 2011
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The book authored by Amtrak for its 40th anniversary is great. The pictures are well selected and do a good job representing each decade of Amtrak's existence. The quality of the photos is excellent, as is the book itself. The layout and design are also superb. And best of all, the price is well under $20. Where else can anyone get a full-color high quality book for that price today? If you like trains, especially passenger trains, this is well worth the ticket price.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Adam on May 16, 2012
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Ive had an intrest in railroads and particularly Amtrak since my first trip to Chicago in 1990 when I was four. This book only deepened my intrest in Amtrak. It tells the stories of each of the four decades Amtrak has been in operation though accounts by actual Amtrak employees and other figures who have ties in the history of the railroad. Many of the stories of how employees started off with a lowly yet important position such as a baggage handler or a ticket agent were able to advance up the company ladder to higher management positions on the railroad. There are many vivid captioned pictures that illustrate the company's history as well. The final section of the book is a very intresting look into a typical 24 hour period in the life of Amtrak, illistrated through pictures taken from across the National rail network.

Overall the book is written kind of unconventionally, through the employee entrees and not the typical biographical type history. I feel this helps better illustrate the human element that goes into making the railroad run. I enjoyed it very much and would recommend it to anyone who has an intrest in Amtrak, rail travel, or railroads in general!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anthony on April 21, 2012
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So obviously, being written by past and present Amtrak employees, it isn't going to be the most objective account ever written, but it's still really awesome to hear stories by people involved with the recovery of America's desperately needed passenger rail network. A timeline that stretches across the top of almost every page puts various milestones in Amtrak history alongside other major events (such as presidential assassinations) and numerous pictures make it more than just a big text documentary.

I'm a huge railfan and thoroughly enjoyed this book! Hope to see continued ridership growth and expansion of the Amtrak network!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert Wilhelm on March 21, 2012
I have owned Amtrak: An American Story since December 25, 2011. The book describes the rich history of Amtrak from 1971 to 2010. The book has excellent color and black and white photos of Amtrak trains, Amtrak employees, food in dining cars on Amtrak, train stations and sleeping car bedrooms. I rode Amtrak during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s and was very impressed with the delicious food, drinks, coaches, lounge cars and bedrooms. I recommend this book to railfans interested in Amtrak and passenger trains.

Robert Wilhelm
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