Train trailer from Tom Zoellner on Vimeo.


Train by Tom Zoellner

From the birthplace of the locomotive in England, to the frozen Trans-Siberian railroad with a past as dark as the arctic sky to cresting the Andes in a rattling coal train, riding with blues musicians across America, ascending to the Tibetan plateau on the world’s highest line and crisscrossing India on its antiquated yet magnificent trains, Tom Zoellner examines not just the mechanics of these grandiose machines, but their gigantic effect on the societies through which they run.   (Read more)

Praise for Train:

“Engaging…lyrical…keenly observed” — Joshua Hammer, The New York Times

“Entirely terrific…Zoellner’s wonderful book has me thinking fond train thoughts once more” — Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

“Highly entertaining, lucid and perceptive” — Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times

“A must-read…Enchanting” — Billy Heller, The New York Post

“Spirited and bighearted…Zoellner enlightens us about an industry that’s hiding in plain sight” — John McMurtrie, San Francisco Chronicle

“This is one of those all-too-rare books that have so much to them” — Martin Rubin, The Washington Times

“Rich with history and local color….Mesmerizing” — Library Journal

“Tom Zoellner is a literary magician…Once you open it up there are so many reasons to keep reading that it’s nearly impossible to put down.” — Paul Teetor, L.A. Weekly

“Good news for people shopping for a birthday present for a train buff…Zoellner gives readers little nuggets of information that will make many say, ‘So that’s why!'” — Harry Levins, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“Like its subject, Train, is by turns lyrical, powerful, romantic, transporting, and rich. Fair warning: After you finish Train, you may experience the urge to quit your day job and travel around the world for yourself” — Deborah Sussman, Phoenix New Times

“Zoellner has written several non-fiction books prior to Train, notably the diamond investigation The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds, Deceit and Desire, but Train truly shows the depth of his research and his ability to convey it in an engaging, wholly understandable manner….truly absorbing” — Nathan Kamal, Spectrum Culture

“Splendid” — Harper’s

“Zoellner’s method of relating the history, economics, and sociology of train travel is to spend lots of time riding trains…Wonderful…The best train book of 2014.” — Inside Higher Ed

“Tom Zoellner’s writing is never less than engaging; in Train he has made himself a veritable Walt Whitman of rail travel. It’s a great read.” Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb

Train is such a pleasure to read, elegant, deeply informed and smart, full of knowledge-bearing sentences, and prose so companionable and rich in insight that it is as if its author were at your shoulder, taking you along with him. What an enjoyable journey. I will never hear the far off moan of a train in the night without thinking of it, and I know of no higher praise one can give a book. Tom Zoellner is quickly making himself a reputation as a man of wide and eclectic interests, and oh, my! Can he write!” Richard Bausch, PEN/Malamud prize-winning author of Something is Out There

“Great for fans of Paul Theroux’s railroad journeys, except that Zoellner isn’t anywhere nearly as ill-tempered, and he has a better command of social history.”  Kirkus Reviews

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