July 2022 MBR The Railroading Shelf

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Midwest Book Review

Aug 3, 2022, 1:59:00 PMAug 3
The Railroading Shelf

Backwoods Railroads
D. C. Burkhardt
Washington State University Press
PO Box 645910, Pullman, WA 99164-5910
9780874224092, $60.00, HC, 180pp


Synopsis: Originally published in 1994, and now in newly updated edition with new content and additional images, "Backwoods Railroads: Branchlines & Shortlines of Western Oregon" by D. C. Burkhardt continues to present an engaging description of western Oregon's evolving contemporary branchline and shortline railroad operations.

In the pages of this coffee-table style volume (8.9 x 0.9 x 11.4 inches, 2.8 pounds), Burkhardt's unique photojournalistic account focuses on the Willamette Valley and its bordering mountain chains-the Coast Range, the Cascades, and the Siskiyous, capturing a sense of the state's rural, small-town character and heritage.

Critique: Enhanced for the reader with the inclusion of a two page Bibliography, a two page listing of Acknowledgments, and a ten page Index, "Backwoods Railroads: Branchlines & Shortlines of Western Oregon" is impressively detailed and illustrated. Having a very special appeal to dedicated railroading buffs, "Backwoods Railroads: Branchlines & Shortlines of Western Oregon" is unreservedly recommended as a core addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library U.S. Railroad History collections and supplemental studies curriculum lists.

Editorial Note: Photojournalist D. C. Jessie Burkhardt first encountered the Ann Arbor Railroad (one of his key subjects) when he visited Frankfort, Michigan, in 1969. The community, the railroad, and the car ferries it served sparked a strong connection, and it became a focal point of his travels and later became a feature of some of his books. Burkhardt currently works for a private contractor transporting train crews in the Northwest and has published several books on railroad history.


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