Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Chicago Transit: An Illustrated History Hardcover – October 27, 1998
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
"A comprehensive look at the region's ground transportation."—Chicago Tribune
"A must for anyone interested in urban development."
"An excellent discussion of urban transit in the Windy City.... This thoughtful and pleasantly written book is greatly enhanced by a rich variety of high-quality photographs."—Choice
About the Author
David M. Young, former transportation editor for the Chicago Tribune, is author of several books on transportation in Chicago.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
So I had high hopes for "Chicago Transit," which I expected would answer a lot of questions I had about a subject I enjoy. Unfortunately, while there is a lot of information here -- lots and lots of facts and figures, in mind-numbing detail -- the story of transit in Chicago seems to have gotten lost. There are glimpses of it -- a few pages on the career of Samuel Insull, some details on the political machinations behind the creation of the Regional Transportation Authority -- but most of the book is about how the various forms of transit were organized and set up financially, whether they made money during any given period, how many miles they covered and how many riders they served. The technological changes from horse to steam to electric to diesel power (for buses and suburban trains) are discussed in some detail, as is the impact of the car, although here Young seems in over his head -- he understands that the car had a major impact on urban development and planning, and indeed claims several times that the car is actually a form of "mass transit" since it is used by masses of people -- but he does not really address how the car affected public transit. He concedes that most people who arrive in the Loop (5 out of 7) do so by mass transit -- so does decreased ridership mean that fewer people work in the Loop? Or that fewer shop in the Loop? Or that fewer people use the El or buses in off-peak hours to get around the rest of the City? None of these questions were answered to my satisfaction.
A couple of choices add to the confusion and piling on of detail. As noted, Young does not confine himself to public transportation, but also devotes a significant amount of space to non-commuter rail traffic and to the development of the car and of highways. Obviously you can't really write a history of public transit without discussing those subjects, but Young devotes whole sections or chapters to them, taking a big detour from his main subject. Young also tends to go through the history of one form of transit (street railways, for example) in one chapter, and then turn to another form of transit (the El) in the next chapter, leading to a lot of repetition and jumping back forth in time. Even within a chapter, Young may cover 50 years of history of the West Side El, and then go back to the beginning to talk about the South Side lines.
Overall, there's lots of data here, but very little story and only a few (questionable) conclusions. There is nothing on the impact public transit (or the absence of it) has on the lives of people everyday. There is a nice selection of black-and-white photographs, mostly featuring the railcars of various eras. If you need a resource for basic information on Chicago transit, you will find this volume useful, but if you are a general reader looking for an interesting and thought-provoking read, you had best look elsewhere.