Matthew D. Esposito (ed.). Routledge 2020. 2,985 p.
A World History of Railway Cultures, 1830-1930 is the first collection of primary sources to historicize the cultural impact of railways on a global scale from their inception in Great Britain to the Great Depression. Its dual purpose is to promote understanding of complex historical processes leading to globalization and generate interest in transnational and global comparative research on railways.
In four volumes, organized by historical geography, this scholarly collection gathers rare out-of-print published and unpublished materials from archival and digital repositories throughout the world. It adopts a capsule approach that focuses on short selections of significant primary source content instead of redundant and irrelevant materials found in online data collections. The current collection draws attention to railway cultures through railroad reports, parliamentary papers, government documents, police reports, public health records, engineering reports, technical papers, medical surveys, memoirs, diaries, travel narratives, ethnographies, newspaper articles, editorials, pamphlets, broadsides, paintings, cartoons, engravings, photographs, art, ephemera, and passages from novels and poetry collections that shed light on the cultural history of railways. The editor’s original essays and headnotes on the cultural politics of railways introduce over 200 carefully selected primary sources. Students and researchers come to understand railways not as applied technological impositions of industrial capitalism but powerful, fluid, and idiosyncratic historical constructs.