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A Century of Subways: Celebrating 100 Years of New York's Underground Railways 1st Edition

7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0823222933
ISBN-10: 0823222934
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An impressively informative work A Century of Subwary tells of the amazing and critically important history of subway systems as a remarkable technological achievement in mass transportation which is legendary for its practicality."

About the Author


BRIAN J. CUDAHY's books include Around Manhattan Island: And Other Maritime Tales ofNew York and A Century of Subways: Celebrating 100 Years of New York's Underground Railways (both Fordham). He lives in Bluffton, SC.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 388 pages
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press; 1 edition (September 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823222934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823222933
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 1 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,146,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Brian Cudahy was born in Brooklyn, New York, and it was there that he developed a life-long fascination with subway trains. His first professional career was as a professor of philosophy, and he held positions on the faculoty of both Niagara University and Boston College. Cudahy left the academic world in the mid-1970s and spent the rest of his career working in the field of mass transportation, first with Boston's MBTA, then with the RTA in Chicago, and finally with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

He has published widely in two areas of transportation ... urban mass transit and maritime history. When Fordham University Press celebrated its centennial in 2007, Cudahy's history of the New York subways, "Under the Sidewalks of New York," was cited as one of the Press' ten best sellers during its first hundred years.

Brian Cudahy retired in 1999 and currently lives near Hilton Head, South Carolina. Watch out, though! One of these days, readers may be able to get an inside look at urban mass transit in America through Cudahy's first work of fiction, a book that will bear the title "Foggarty's Heart Attack."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mark D. Rosenzweig on December 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Don't be misled by the title into thinking that this book is mainly about the history of the NYC subway system. While the genesis of the NYC subway is covered, particularly the first IRT line, it forms only a modest part of the book, which also describes the start of the Boston, London, Glasgow and other subways, and the development of the commuter rail network into New York City. The book also dwells a lot on the physical, mechanical and electrical attributes of rolling stock, electricity supply, line construction methods, etc., for the various systems. While this does put the NYC subway system into context, it doesn't make for a particularly "light" read or give the reader an overall perspective on how the entire NYC subway system developed during the past 100 years and its impact on the city.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Rocco Dormarunno on November 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
New York's subway system has been written about, painted, painted on, talked about, griped about, even sung about. (Don't sleep on the subway, darling...) There are a fair number of books about it, most of them are technical. And the technical achievements of the subways system are amazing.
But only Brian Cudahy can write with the excitement and enthusiasm for this complex transit system to bring its history and experience to life. The word "Celebrating" in the subtitle is more indicative of his attitude than the bland "A Century of Subways." He starts with the asphyxiating conditions of Manhattan's streets immediately before 1900, and the need of developers, businessmen, and employers alike to expand into the other boroughs. This system, once built, would ease the overcrowding of Manhattan's slums, provide capital for real estate and housing barons in Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and northernmost Manhattan, and turn places like Coney Island into true party spots.
Of course, skeptics did abound: "New Yorkers will never go into a hole in the ground." And this is where Brian Cudahy then delivers to us the fanfare, thrills and--efficiency (!)--of the first subway ride, as bystanders cheered from clean, beautiful (!!) subway stations. At the center of it all is August Belmont, and the admiration Cudahy has for him is evident. Yet he doesn't resort to worshipping the tycoon/developer.
A CENTURY OF SUBWAYS is a fun and educational book. Its tone is miles away from his sober, but equally fascinating book, THE MALBONE STREET WRECK. While this disaster was waiting to happen in 1918, Cudahy, in A CENTURY OF SUBWAYS, savors the joyful moments of 1904.
Rocco Dormarunno, author of THE FIVE POINTS CONCLUDED
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on February 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
An impressively informative work by transportation historian Brian J. Cudahy, A Century Of Subways: Celebrating 100 Years Of New York's Underground Railways tells of the amazing and critically important history of subway systems as a remarkable technological achievement in mass transportation which legendary for its practicality. A grand presentation that takes the reader and subway enthusiast on a vivid trip through time as an aptly and extensively researched tribute to the visionaries and power brokers behind the creation of New York's famous subways, A Century Of Subways would grace the American History and Transportation History collections of any academic or community library system.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Cudahy does a great job detailing the development and progression of the New York City subway system, but his focus is much more on providing the necessary details almost in reference book form than in trying to construct any sort of compelling narrative. Conspiculously absent is any portrait of the key figures involved, or the social forces at work as the subway system was born and then rapidly expanded. The entire history of the New York system, in fact, is covered in the first seventy pages. While keeping the critical details about subway car specifications and the like, it would have done Cudahy well to provide much more gloss to these facts rather than occupying so many pages with discussions of the rail systems in London, Boston, and the New York suburbs. Other books on the specific subject in Cudahy's title do a much better job of painting the complete picture and might be better suited for the casual reader interested in a focused but complete history of the New York City subway system.
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