Books of Railroad Work, Unions, Labor, & Strikes
Boomer - Railroad Memoirs Linda Niemann University of California Press Berkley, CA 1990 One woman's story of hiring out on the Southern Pacific in the late 1970s and holding a job as a switchman, brakeman and later conductor only by booming around the system in order to hold a job. (Issued four years later in 1994 as On the Rails - A Memoir.
Brotherhoods of Color: Black Workers and the Struggle for Equality Eric Arnesen Harvard University Press 2002 Historical account of African-American men and women efforts to obtain social equality and opportunity while constructing and workingon America's railroads. Provides details of Black railroad workers' struggles to change the mindset of the railroad industry, mangers, and their fellow white workers.
Brownie the Boomer - The Life of Charles P. Brown Edited by H. Roger Grant. Northern Illinois University Press Dekalb, IL. 1991 (original text 1930) Rare autobiography of a "boomer" trainman from the early 20th century. A vivid account of his 14 years working on major railroad systems across the continent as a brakeman, fireman, switchman.
Convict No. 9653 A new book about Eugene V. Debs sheds light on free speech and censorship—and civil liberties more generally—during a time of war.
El Tren Pasa Primero Elena Poniatowska (Spanish) A young man from Oaxaca, Mexico learned at an early age that he was gifted, not with beauty or physical strength, but with willpower, the force of the spoken word and a constant eagerness for knowledge. The story of his life is a journey that starts with the whistle of a train .... It is also the place in which his ardent speech to his railroad brothers resulted in a fight that would upturn a country and a regime.
Faces of Railroading: Portraits of America's Greatest Industry Carl A. Swanson Kalbach Books Milwaukee 2004 Photo essay depicting numerous workers from the various crafts at work on the railroad in 20th century America.
Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow Dee Brown Holt New York 1977 History of the building of the transcontinental railroads, starting in 1854 and proceeding in detail until the 1890s, then hurriedly summarizes until the 1970s. And Brown shows, repeatedly and at length, how the railroad builders screwed and continue to screw the American public and workers time and again.
Old Rails' Tales: Anecdotes, Stories & Memoirs - On the Road and in the Yard Allan Allen Trafford Publishing Victoria, BC 2005 A collection of on-the-job first hand accounts of four generations of railroaders - engineers, brakemen, switchmen, conductors, dispatchers,and yardmasters off the Santa Fe, Southern Pacific, Western Pacific and Amtrak.
Power at Odds: The 1922 National Railroad Shopmen's Strike Colin J. DavisUniversity of Illinois Press Urbana and Chicago 1997 Outlines and describes the development of how a mass strike of nearly halfa million railroad shopmen went on a generalized strike that had the potential to change the nature of rail labor relations in North America.
Prarie Whistles: Tales of Midwest Railroading Dennis Boyer Trails Books Black Earth, Wisconsin 2001 A collection of oral reminiscences drawn from Midwest railroaders during the 20th century.
Railroading in Texas - One Man's Memories Fred W. Picker Dorrance Publishing Company, Inc. Pittsburg 1996 Historical account of one man's experience of 36 years as a railroad conductor in Texas.
Railroad Voices Narratives by Linda Niemann and Photos by Linda Bertucci Stanford University Press Stanford 1998. Photos together with vignettes from railroading in the 80s and 90s. The workers accounts are largely from the SP while the photos are largely from the Milwaukee Road.
Rising from the Rails: Pullman Porters and the Making of the Black Middle Class Larry Tye Holt New York 2004 Chronicles the pioneering role that the sleeping car porters union and their leader, A. Philip Randolph, played in building America's union movement.
She's Been Working on the Railroad Nancy Smiler Levinson Lodestar Books New York 1997 A history of women workers on the railroad from its early days until the present.
The Boomer: A Story of the Rails Harry Bedwell and James D. Porterfield 2006
This is an episodic story about Eddie Sand, a skilled telegrapher who booms around the country working at various depots, towers and shanties plying his craft.
The Hoghead - An Industrial Ethnology of the Locomotive Engineer Frederick C. Gamst Holt, Rinehart and Winston New York 1980 "... the occupation and life of the locomotive engineer and his fellow workers in an exposition of the ethnological (social and cultural anthropological) study of industry."
The Great Labor Uprising of 1877 Phillip S. Foner Pathfinder Press New York 1977 Outlines the Railroad Strike of 1877 and how this first generalized strike of U.S. workers spread across the entire country.
The Pullman Case: The Clash of Labor and Capital in Industrial America David Ray Papke University of Kansas Lawrence 1999 Account of the great strike waged against the Pullman Company by the American Railway Union (ARU in 1894), led by Eugene V. Debs and others.
The Working Life - A Worker on the Transcontinental Railroad James Barter The men who built the Transcontinental Railroad between 1863 and 1869 labored twelve hour days building bridges, blasting tunnels, and laying rail beds in the midst of freezing winters and hot summers while fighting Indians and dodging dynamite explosions. This book honors the tens of thousands of mostly immigrants by describing their day-to-day lives while constructing the greatest railroad of all time.
View from the Cab - Stories from a Locomotive Engineer Doug Riddell 1999 The author takes the reader through his railroad career as fireman, brakeman, conductor, freight engineer and Amtrak engineer. He learns how the newly merged Seaboard Coast Line and Seaboard Air Lines operate, works as a brakeman, and enters engine service to become an engineer.
Working for the Railroad: The Organization of Work in the Nineteenth Century Walter Licht 1989
Workin' on the Railroad - Reminiscences from the Age of Steam Richard Reinhardt University of Oklahoma Press Norman 1970 First hand accounts of work on the railroad in the 19th and 20th centuries when steam locomotives were the rule.
Working on the Railroad Brian Solomon MBI Publishing St. Paul 2006 An insiders look at work on the railroad. It's a collection of stories and pictures of men and machines from the later days of steam to today working at the various crafts.
Working on the Western Maryland - A Collection of Employee Interviews Wes Morganstern Western Maryland Historical Society 1999 Various accounts of work and life on the Western Maryland by a wide array of workers from various crafts. They recount their life through steam and diesel, Western Maryland, then Chessie System and finally CSX.