The World The Railways Made. Nicholas Faith. Carroll & Graff.

The World The Railways Made Book Cover The World The Railways Made
Nicholas Faith
Carroll & Graff

The modern world began with the arrival of the railway. The change was both sudden and universal: between 1825 when the first passenger service came into operation in England and the outbreak of World War I, railways redefined, transformed, and expanded the limits of the industrialized world. With railways came the development of modern capitalism, new political and economic concepts of national unity and international connections. Railways opened up new regions from the American West to Siberia, from Lake Victoria to the pampas of Argentina, changing not only the way the world looked but the way it saw itself.

The World the Railways Made recounts how railways intensified almost every experience: robbery, romance, sex, speed, warfare. Railways spawned the desire and measurement of the new. For some the “Iron Road” represented the horrors of industrial development; for others it symbolized the way toward a brighter future; for nearly all it meant deep and lasting change. From the different breed of capitalists who provided unprecedented amounts of capital, to the floating communities of Irish and Chinese who built them; from the paintings of Turner to the enriched and broadened diet that railways brought to all – Nicholas Faith’s fascinating social history explores this mechanical revolution which ushered in a new world.

Nicholas Faith writes for The Independent on Sunday (London) and many other newspapers and magazines. He has published five previous books, including The Winemasters and Sold (on Sotheby’s).