It turned out to be a pleasure to read Steve Barry’s Rail Power, a gift from my sister-in-law. At first glance this looks like nothing more than a downsized coffee-table book, filled with lots of pictures and very little text. What a surprise to find that it is well-written, well-organized, and truly informative! The premise is very simple: provide a history of American locomotives. Hundreds of exceptionally crisp photographs do just that and clearly form the backbone of the book, but the quality of the supporting text is equal to that of the photos. The writing is exceptionally concise, while maintaining a real personality and often a light touch despite such a geeky topic. The organization is primarily chronological, divided into three large sections, one each for steam, electric, and diesel. If you have any interest in railroads — whether real or model — this book is definitely worth reading and keeping.
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