Catalogue

COVID-19: Updates on library services and operations.

Railroad voices /
narratives by Linda Niemann ; photographs by Lina Bertucci.
imprint
Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 1998.
description
xi, 158 p. : ill. ; 23 x 27 cm.
ISBN
0804732094 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
added author
imprint
Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 1998.
isbn
0804732094 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
2429773
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
An evocative and honest portrayal in words and images of railroad life in America, Railroad Voices is a collaboration by two of the first women to work as railroad brakemen. Linda Niemann hired on the Southern Pacific in 1979 in California, where she continues to work as a conductor for the Union Pacific, and Lina Bertucci hired on the now-defunct Milwaukee Road in 1974. The eighteen-year-old Lina Bertucci used her camera to hold her own in the freightyard, and the resulting fifty-eight photographs in this book present an insider's view of a world few people have access to. This is the true world of work: the face of exhaustion, of hours spent waiting, followed by intense activity, of the outside maze of tracks and house-size boxcars the workers shepherd with their bodies and a two-dollar lantern. We notice what individuals these people arethe clothes they choose to wear, their tattoos, their faces. And they are, of course, looking at Lina, or aware of her presence in their previously all-male sanctuary. Linda Niemann's folkloric memoirs give this environment voice. The railroad for her has become an eighteen-year career and her poetic subject. As the last brakeman hired, Niemann has had to follow the work all over the Southwest, collecting travelers' tales along the way. Her stories carry the images forward in time to the present-day railroad of short crews, no cabooses, and streamlined, downsized operations. She tells the human stories these changes generate, while delighting in the language and details of the craft. Image and text interplay to place the reader inside an exciting, changing, and dangerous world that has for generations been a major part of American culture.
Flap Copy
An evocative and honest portrayal in words and images of railroad life in America, Railroad Voices is a collaboration by two of the first women to work as railroad brakemen. Linda Niemann hired on the Southern Pacific in 1979 in California, where she continues to work as a conductor for the Union Pacific, and Lina Bertucci hired on the now-defunct Milwaukee Road in 1974. The eighteen-year-old Lina Bertucci used her camera to hold her own in the freightyard, and the resulting fifty-eight photographs in this book present an insider's view of a world few people have access to. This is the true world of work: the face of exhaustion, of hours spent waiting, followed by intense activity, of the outside maze of tracks and house-size boxcars the workers shepherd with their bodies and a two-dollar lantern. We notice what individuals these people are--the clothes they choose to wear, their tattoos, their faces. And they are, of course, looking at Lina, or aware of her presence in their previously all-male sanctuary. Linda Niemann's folkloric memoirs give this environment voice. The railroad for her has become an eighteen-year career and her poetic subject. As the last brakeman hired, Niemann has had to follow the work all over the Southwest, collecting travelers' tales along the way. Her stories carry the images forward in time to the present-day railroad of short crews, no cabooses, and streamlined, downsized operations. She tells the human stories these changes generate, while delighting in the language and details of the craft. Image and text interplay to place the reader inside an exciting, changing, and dangerous world that has for generations been a major part of American culture.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1999-03-01:
The railroad voices heard in this attractively produced work are recorded by Linda Niemann, who in the late 1970s "went railroadin'." Niemann worked for the Southern Pacific (now Union Pacific) and Amtrak, and describes the challenges that a female train crew member encountered in a historically male workforce. Moreover, Niemann captures the difficult life that most operating personnel confront, including sleep deprivation, dirty working conditions, and ever-present dangers from rolling stock and individuals who inhabit the railroad corridor. Yet, she vividly reveals the special bonds that develop among "rails," whether male or female. Some readers might be offended by rough language and sexually explicit descriptions of rail life, but arguably they correctly portray the "real" railway workplace. The book includes superb photographs of employees and equipment taken by Lina Bertucci, who in 1974 entered train service on the former Milwaukee Road. Railroad Voices offers fascinating insights into modern railroading from a rare female perspective. All levels. H. R. Grant; Clemson University
Appeared in Library Journal on 1998-12:
Niemann and Bertucci produced this book from personal experiences over the last 20 years working various railroad jobs, from brakeman to conductor. Bertucci contributes 58 memorable black-and-white photographs, starkly revealing the exhaustion and stress of railroading in the faces of her co-workers. Niemann's accompanying narrative tells of her experiences as a boomer, someone who moves with the railroad wherever there is work. She describes the lives of her co-workers, her own personal restlessness, and the world of main lines and yards in California towns like Colton, Watsonville, and Bakersfield. This book is not for those who want to savor the romance of the rails. Instead, it portrays the effects of modern railroading's bureaucracy, schedules, and dangers on its workers. The pictures are compelling and the narrative almost poetic. Essential for collections on railroading and recommended for all others.‘Lawrence Maxted, Gannon Univ., Erie, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, December 1998
Choice, March 1999
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Back Cover Copy
"This stunning book opens up the reader to the world of railroad work and workers like nothing else. It's clearly a major literary work. The stories are beautifully written, eloquently capturing a rough and difficult world in an accessible and compelling voice. They are also one of the best sources on women's efforts to cross over into nontraditional jobs, and on the impact on real working people of the 1980s and 1990s #145;restructuring' of the economy. The photographs mesh perfectly with the text. They manage, like the text, to depict a hard life without being voyeuristic, sensational, or romantic." --Dana Frank, University of California, Santa Cruz
Back Cover Copy
"This stunning book opens up the reader to the world of railroad work and workers like nothing else. It's clearly a major literary work. The stories are beautifully written, eloquently capturing a rough and difficult world in an accessible and compelling voice. They are also one of the best sources on women's efforts to cross over into nontraditional jobs, and on the impact on real working people of the 1980s and 1990s 'restructuring' of the economy. The photographs mesh perfectly with the text. They manage, like the text, to depict a hard life without being voyeuristic, sensational, or romantic." Dana Frank, University of California, Santa Cruz
Back Cover Copy
"This stunning book opens up the reader to the world of railroad work and workers like nothing else. It's clearly a major literary work. The stories are beautifully written, eloquently capturing a rough and difficult world in an accessible and compelling voice. They are also one of the best sources on women's efforts to cross over into nontraditional jobs, and on the impact on real working people of the 1980s and 1990s ‘restructuring' of the economy. The photographs mesh perfectly with the text. They manage, like the text, to depict a hard life without being voyeuristic, sensational, or romantic." --Dana Frank, University of California, Santa Cruz
Bowker Data Service Summary
This is an evocative and honest portrayal in words and images of railroad life in America, Railroad Voices is a collaboration by two of the first women to work as railroad breakmen.
Main Description
An evocative and honest portrayal in words and images of railroad life in America,Railroad Voicesis a collaboration by two of the first women to work as railroad brakemen. Linda Niemann hired on the Southern Pacific in 1979 in California, where she continues to work as a conductor for the Union Pacific, and Lina Bertucci hired on the now-defunct Milwaukee Road in 1974. The eighteen-year-old Lina Bertucci used her camera to hold her own in the freightyard, and the resulting fifty-eight photographs in this book present an insider's view of a world few people have access to. This is the true world of work: the face of exhaustion, of hours spent waiting, followed by intense activity, of the outside maze of tracks and house-size boxcars the workers shepherd with their bodies and a two-dollar lantern. We notice what individuals these people arethe clothes they choose to wear, their tattoos, their faces. And they are, of course, looking at Lina, or aware of her presence in their previously all-male sanctuary. Linda Niemann's folkloric memoirs give this environment voice. The railroad for her has become an eighteen-year career and her poetic subject. As the last brakeman hired, Niemann has had to follow the work all over the Southwest, collecting travelers' tales along the way. Her stories carry the images forward in time to the present-day railroad of short crews, no cabooses, and streamlined, downsized operations. She tells the human stories these changes generate, while delighting in the language and details of the craft. Image and text interplay to place the reader inside an exciting, changing, and dangerous world that has for generations been a major part of American culture.
Main Description
An evocative and honest portrayal in words and images of railroad life in America,Railroad Voicesis a collaboration by two of the first women to work as railroad brakemen. Linda Niemann hired on the Southern Pacific in 1979 in California, where she continues to work as a conductor for the Union Pacific, and Lina Bertucci hired on the now-defunct Milwaukee Road in 1974. The eighteen-year-old Lina Bertucci used her camera to hold her own in the freightyard, and the resulting fifty-eight photographs in this book present an insider's view of a world few people have access to. This is the true world of work: the face of exhaustion, of hours spent waiting, followed by intense activity, of the outside maze of tracks and house-size boxcars the workers shepherd with their bodies and a two-dollar lantern. We notice what individuals these people are--the clothes they choose to wear, their tattoos, their faces. And they are, of course, looking at Lina, or aware of her presence in their previously all-male sanctuary. Linda Niemann's folkloric memoirs give this environment voice. The railroad for her has become an eighteen-year career and her poetic subject. As the last brakeman hired, Niemann has had to follow the work all over the Southwest, collecting travelers' tales along the way. Her stories carry the images forward in time to the present-day railroad of short crews, no cabooses, and streamlined, downsized operations. She tells the human stories these changes generate, while delighting in the language and details of the craft. Image and text interplay to place the reader inside an exciting, changing, and dangerous world that has for generations been a major part of American culture.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem