his colorful history will appeal to borth the interested reader and transportation historian. Brian Cudahy's skillful narrative is combined with a wealth of period photographs. The first comprehensive history of public transportation in North America to be published in more than 60 years, the book traces the grwoth of urban mass transit from the horse-drawn street cars of the 1830's through the development of cable cars, electric street cars, subways, and buses, to the new light rail systems that are playing a key role in today's urban transit renaissance. The book is not bound to any geographical region and examines transit rail systems throughout the United States and Canada.
A lively, descriptive historical sketch of the evolution of public transit in the North American city. Beginning with the stagecoach in the 1820s, horsecars, electric streetcars, els, subways, buses, and contemporary light-rail trolley systems are surveyed in turn. The writing is fast paced, well supported by dozens of appropriate photographs, and imbued with the zeal of a true transportation aficionado. Cudahy's book, however, cannot be regarded as a work of serious historical scholarship. No attempt is made to link this overview with the rich historical literature on the physical growth of the metropolis and with the new societies that emerged in new transit corridors. The author, once a philosophy professor, works for the US Department of Transportation. Although the book is only a marginal contribution to the field of urban history, it is recommended for enthusiasts and general readers.
“Written by a transportation expert, who knows how to bring his reader aboard, conduct a tour, and finally discharge all passengers safely, somewhere between history and nostalgia.”
—The Hudson Valley Regional Review