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O. Winston Link: Life Along the Line: A Photographic Portrait of America's Last Great Steam Railroad Hardcover – October 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

O. Winston Link (1914–2001) photographed the Norfolk and Western from 1955 to 1960. His brilliant black-and-white prints established him as an important American photographer, and many of his images have become modern classics. Tony Reevy, administrator at the UNC Institute for the Environment and advisory editor of Railroad History, is an author who has published two books and more than 100 poems and articles. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; Har/Com edition (October 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419703722
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419703720
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 1 x 10.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #206,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Senior associate director of the Institute for the Environment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Tony Reevy is a graduate of North Carolina State University, UNC-Chapel Hill and Miami University. He is a David P. Morgan Award winner (2006) and a Pushcart Prize nominee. His previous publications include poetry, non-fiction and short fiction, including the non-fiction books Ghost Train! and O. Winston Link: Life Along the Line, and the poetry chapbooks Green Cove Stop, Magdalena, Lightning in Wartime, and In Mountain Lion Country. His first book of poetry, Old North, was published by Iris Press in May 2013. His next book of poetry, Passage, is to be released by Iris Press in April 2015; and his next non-fiction book, The Railroad Photography of Jack Delano, is to be released by Indiana University Press in October 2015. He resides in Durham, North Carolina with wife, Caroline Weaver, and children Lindley and Ian.

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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Robin Benson on September 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
At last Abrams gives us a third helping of wonderful Link photos. The first book, 'Steam Steel & Stars' in 1987 introduced him to a wider audience and now he's firmly established as a great American photographer, something railroad fans have known for years. Of the three Abrams books I think this is the best because it is so comprehensive and also a first-class production.

Like Richard Steinheimer, another great railroad photographer, Link believed there was more to this kind of work than snapping a smoking wedge shaped consist powering along a track. Both of them creatively explored the engines in and out of use, employees who made it all happen and the places and towns along the track. Link took it further by creating remarkable night-time tableaus of steamers passing through towns and the countryside.

The book's 180 photos (twelve in color) are in five sections: 'Railroaders' looks at all sorts of Norfolk & Western employees; 'Iron Horses' covers the various units N&S used and Link chose this railroad because it was the last to use both steam and diesel; 'Side by Side' with trains on the mainline; 'In the Land of Plenty' has a lovely selection of photos of small towns, stations, passengers, stores and buildings in the N&S region. The last section: 'How it was done' is, I think, one of the strengths of the book. It's a detailed look at how Link worked, not just with cameras but how he took movies and did recordings.

The landscape book (just over 11.5 inches wide) is an excellent production. Printed with a 200 screen on a quality matt art paper. None of the photos bleed of the page edge and they all have extensive captions though I did find it slightly annoying that captions are only on every other spread even though nearly every page had space for them.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By E. Weiler on October 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For readers that are train buffs and fans of Winston Link's work, this is the best collection and narrative I have seen to date. Not only are there some new photos that have been unpublished before, but the narrative is very well researched and clearly written. The final chapter is written by Mr. Link's son, who gives us a vivid picture of the personal side of the photographer, including the story of how his ill-fated second marriage ended in the destruction of much of his work.

Do not miss this book. It will stay with you, both in heart and spirit.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bernie on October 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have the other two of Links pictorial histories of the N&W and this followup edition is fantastic reading as it explains more background on the picturoral history he made of this steam railroad which ran right behind my house. I would recommend this to anyone who likes railroad history. The book is divided into sections which makes it much easier to assimilate. I was so into this book I read it in two days!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ed Train on November 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've just skimmed through "Life Along the Line" and find it to be a superb book in all respects. Added: I've spent more time with this book and have ordered another one for a family member as a Christmas present. My opinion of the book is even higher than when I first wrote this review.... It's a superb volume.

It's about railroading. Yet it's also an historical documentation of the passing of an era, the era of steam locomotion as it transitions quickly to diesel locomotion. It also documents the lives of many who worked for the railroad and who lived beside the railroad in small hamlets, isolated from much of the world at large.

I quickly noticed the high quality matte paper. It has very little reflection to direct glare into my aging eyes. Much appreciated in this day and age of glossy books and magazines.

As a photographer, I noted the incredible detail of the photos, the composition, the included backgrounds. the careful use of depth-of-field, the exquisite use of artificial lighting. This tome more than does justice to Link's skill and talent at taking photos. The reproduction is first rate. You'll find pleasure in viewing these photos more than once or twice.

Link did a marvelous job of taking portraits of the people he met during the course of his years-long project. These are more than 'studio' portraits. They are portraits of the men and women in their element. Again, the photos are nearly perfect in every respect. They are not nameless faces. In nearly all photos, he has also documented their names and their locations. He shows his respect and enjoyment of all of the people he met and worked with during this project.

The book includes a number of color photos taken by Link as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By dodie1990 on November 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wonderful photos and written text about a long gone but much loved and remembered America. The Locomotives and people who lived and worked along the railroad made this country what it was and will never be again. A steam locomotive is a perfect metaphor for America strong,muscular all business capable of any task. Those who worked on them loved them and it shows. Every time I look at O. Winston Link's work I am in awe of his craftsmanship, and forever thankful of his love and dedication to the task which he undertook with love and perfection. To look at this work and not get a little choked up is impossible.
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