From Publishers Weekly
Former sportswriter and Grand Prix racer Posey captures the perennial American obsession with model railroading in this joyful combination of memoir, cultural history and love letter. Those who owned electric trains as kids will delight in Posey's retelling of his early love of Lionel trains, as well as his recounting of such details as the fact that Pope Pius XII, "in full ecclesiastical garb, posed with Lionel equipment in the Vatican." After his loyalty switches to smaller HO-scale trains, which at first seem more economical for a set he wants to build for his young son, the author soon finds himself confronting the essential truth of HO life: "people with HO layouts rarely bought their accessories, they made them." Most of the book's first half recounts the construction of Posey's 16-year masterpiece, a recreation of the Colorado Midland Railway. The author's concise descriptions of his various models are enthralling and often funny, such as the model of his friend Paul Newman's impeccably clean Newman's Own food company headquarters; Posey playfully makes it into a harmful sewage polluter with lazy, card-playing workers, one of whom "looked suspiciously like Newman himself." The book's second half is equally absorbing, as Posey meets with, profiles and discusses model railroading with some of the nation's top modelers.
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Here's a guy with a healthy variety of interests. Posey is an architectural designer, an Emmy-winning sportswriter, and a Grand Prix racer. Oh, and he likes to play with toy trains, too. OK, it may be a little more than a pastime: his own model railroad, based on the Colorado Midland, took more than 15 years to build. Not merely a memoir, his book is an introduction both to the whole subculture of model trains and to the people for whom playing with trains is not just a hobby but a way of life. Remarkably, considering the narrow focus of its topic, this is a book that will appeal to just about everyone. In telling the story of his obsession with model trains, Posey speaks directly to all of us who have special interests to which we devote large chunks of our spare time. This is a book for every train buff, sports fan, weekend gardener, knitter, crossword puzzler, comic-book collector, or antique hound who has ever experienced the thrill, joy, disappointment, and warm fuzzy feeling that comes from doing something you love. David PittCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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