Going Places (Hardcover)
Transportation Redefines the Twentieth-Century West (American West in the Twentieth Century)
Indiana University Press, 9780253342027, 448pp.
Publication Date: March 10, 2003
It seems difficult even to imagine the modern West without reference to its planes, trains, and automobiles. Freeways define modern Los Angeles, as Route 66 still recalls the freedom of the open road. Seattle, long home to Boeing, gave birth to jetliners such as the 707. And once trains with glamorous names like The Sunset Limited and The Great Northern Flyer carried passengers in posh luxury through the grand vistas of the West. "Railways, highways, and skyways link landscapes both ordinary and sublime for tourists in search of scenic splendor," observes Carlos Arnaldo Schwantes. But those same corridors often leaven despair with opportunity for those who dream that the mobility brought by car, train, and plane will help them find better jobs or escape from their pasts.
Going Places looks at three major ways in which transportation has shaped the great Western landscape. There are the transformations brought about by a railroad right-of-way, highway corridors, waterways, and airports, and the larger impacts of transportation on the landscape, such as the development that followed the iron rails westward. Finally, Schwantes considers how travelers experience the passing landscape as framed by the windows of automobiles, passenger trains, and jetliners, and what that might mean. He examines the interconnections between railroad, highway, aviation, and waterways, and between society and modes of transportation. This masterful narrative travels the length and breadth of a vast space, with marvelous anecdotes and telling details that bring the story to life. More than 100 carefully selected photographs complement the text.