Sunday, November 27, 2016

BOOK REVIEW TIME

 Three recent purchases with short reviews


SMRR Volume 7  by Stephen Timko

Ok, as usual, the cover photo got me and since they are wrapped in plastic......  I'd sworn I wasn't going to purchase another of these based on a disappointing last few Volumes, but with some time past I took the leap again.   The cover photo was one of the few interesting shots in this book.  Once again, diesel money shots predominate, along with the lineage of each diesel.  I guess when I was in my 20's that sort of thing used to interest me.  I've since grown out of it and am looking for more information about things other than the machine that lugged the cars around - I want to know more about the cars being lugged around and why and for what purpose.   If you like diesels, specifically steel mill diesels, pick it up, but if you are looking for detailed information about the steel industry you aren't going to find much of use.   And if you are going to email to call me fat or an asshole for writing a bad review about this specific author, don't waste my time, I already know I am both.


THE STEEL, by Joseph Elliot

This is an expensive ($60) photo book of Bethlehem Steel's last days (the Bethlehem, PA plant)   Photos are very nice.  Book was a must buy for me, but only because some of my primary modeling prototypes are pictured in the book.  The photos are from the 1989 thru 1997, when the plant closed.    My biggest criticism is the arty nature of this book, i.e.. the photos are presented without any captions or text.  There are captions for the photos in an appendix at the end of the book, but they are awkward to use - I copied them to have handy while looking at the photos, but still a bit of a pain.  Also included is an essay by the author about photographing the mill.  There is  second essay by Lance Metz, Bethlehem Steel and canal historian - his usual history/propaganda about how "The Steel" was the center of everything important that happened in American steel making.  



Not exactly anything to do with steel making, but Pennsylvania Railroad Eastern Region Trackside with Frank Konzempel by Robert J. Yanosey  is a recent Morning Sun book well worth purchasing.   Frank Konzempel lived a few towns over from my home, an avid railfan, he started taking color photos in the mid-1950s.  The photos are mostly from the Southern New Jersey/Philadelphia area, but range up to North Jersey out to Harrisburg/Altoona.   There are very good and interesting captions and lots of things included in the photos besides just the locomotives - rolling stock, infrastructure,  operations, etc.   If you model the transition era get this book.   Something I didn't expect was mixed steam/diesel motive power for a period in the 50s on the Pennsy line that runs by my house - and by mixed I mean steam/diesel lash ups (diesel in front due to smoke).    A bonus are photos of the Fort Dix narrow gauge railroad.  This line was built using equipment and track shipped back from Europe after World War One ended.  It was originally part of the United States Army 60cm trench railroad network (There is a good book which I also own on this war zone railroad called Narrow Gauge to No Mans Land)    The primary purpose of the Fort Dix line was to transport soldiers to the rifle and artillery ranges on the base - I believe one of the locomotives is on display there in a museum (I should check sometime as it's 15 minutes away)    Also covered is the last steam on the Pennsy System.  In 1958, the Union Transportation Company, a Pennsy subsidiary that operated from Pemberton to Fort Dix and beyond, still used a small steam engine - the last on the Pennsy system.


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