Railroad Noir: The American West at the End of the Twentieth Century (Google eBook)

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Indiana University Press, May 11, 2010 - Transportation - 168 pages
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Culled from the 20 years she spent traveling the American West as a freight brakeman and conductor, Linda Grant Niemann's Railroad Noir delves into the darker side of railroading. The 1990s were a time of crisis for workers caught in the breakup of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Niemann's tales of exhaustion, alcoholism, homelessness, and corporate blundering present a revelatory account of railroading life. Photographer Joel Jensen realizes Niemann's vision of the working West with images of cowboy bars, blue motels, and railroaders working in electrical storms, white-outs, and desert heat waves. The result is an honest, gritty, and striking collaboration.

  

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Contents

1 Boomer in a Boom Town
3
2 Breakingin Blues
11
3 Blues for Ron
17
4 Beet Inspector
25
5 The Blue Motel
31
6 The Big Four Bar
35
7 Learning Spanish
41
8 Organized Booming
47
12 Train to the Underworld
87
13 Back to Work
93
14 The Hospital Yard
99
15 The Hopper at Granite Rock
107
16 The Lawrence Switcher
111
17 The Lord of the Night
117
18 Midnight Train to Georgia
127
19 The Spiritual Beauty of the Rails
133

9 The Border
53
10 On the Road Again
57
Gallery
61
11 A Starry Night
85
20 Old Head New Hire
137
Glossary
149
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Linda Grant Niemann teaches creative nonfiction at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia. She is author of Boomer: Railroad Memoirs and Railroad Voices.

Joel Jensen is a freelance photographer whose work has been featured in various publications.

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