The Lost Subways of North America: A Cartographic Guide to the Past, Present, and What Might Have Been (Hardcover)

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The Lost Subways of North America: A Cartographic Guide to the Past, Present, and What Might Have Been By Jake Berman, Jake Berman (Illustrator) Cover Image

The Lost Subways of North America: A Cartographic Guide to the Past, Present, and What Might Have Been (Hardcover)

By Jake Berman, Jake Berman (Illustrator)

$35.00


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Staff Reviews


"In the early to mid-twentieth century grand plans were laid for efficient and well thought-out subway systems in city after city--but then came the postwar national love affair with the superhighway and the automobile, and most of the schemes either came to nothing or else were drastically reduced. The 1945 map of what was planned for Boston but never built is alone enough to make one weep."

Alan H., Harvard Book Store

A visual exploration of the transit histories of twenty-three US and Canadian cities.
 
Every driver in North America shares one miserable, soul-sucking universal experience—being stuck in traffic. But things weren’t always like this. Why is it that the mass transit systems of most cities in the United States and Canada are now utterly inadequate?
 
The Lost Subways of North America offers a new way to consider this eternal question, with a strikingly visual—and fun—journey through past, present, and unbuilt urban transit. Using meticulous archival research, cartographer and artist Jake Berman has successfully plotted maps of old train networks covering twenty-three North American metropolises, ranging from New York City’s Civil War–era plan for a steam-powered subway under Fifth Avenue to the ultramodern automated Vancouver SkyTrain and the thousand-mile electric railway system of pre–World War II Los Angeles. He takes us through colorful maps of old, often forgotten streetcar lines, lost ideas for never-built transit, and modern rail systems—drawing us into the captivating transit histories of US and Canadian cities.
 
Berman combines vintage styling with modern printing technology to create a sweeping visual history of North American public transit and urban development. With more than one hundred original maps, accompanied by essays on each city’s urban development, this book presents a fascinating look at North American rapid transit systems.

Jake Berman is a cartographer, writer, artist, and lawyer. His work has been featured in the New Yorker, Vice, Atlas Obscura, and the Guardian. A native of San Francisco, he now lives in New York City.

Jake Berman is a cartographer, writer, artist, and lawyer. His work has been featured in the New Yorker, Vice, Atlas Obscura, and the Guardian. A native of San Francisco, he now lives in New York City.

Product Details ISBN: 9780226829791
ISBN-10: 0226829790
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: November 3rd, 2023
Pages: 272
Language: English
"Cartographer Berman’s comprehensive debut succinctly recounts the histories of 23 public mass transit systems built by American cities in the 20th century. . . . For each city, Berman provides his own exquisitely illustrated maps of past, existing, and proposed transit systems. The result is a valuable resource for transit enthusiasts."
— Publishers Weekly

“Effectively illustrated with past and current system maps, this collection offers fresh insights into how large cities can—or don’t—work.”
— Booklist, starred review

"In addition to commenting on contemporary situations, Berman’s book is also a rewarding look into the history that informs our contemporary transit mess. For instance, he does an apt job of retelling the oft-told defeat of Los Angeles’s streetcar system by freeway – including a strange moment in which an LA monorail almost took hold. This retelling makes for the perfect prologue to Berman’s discussion of LA’s decades-long pursuit of a viable light rail system, which continues to this day."
— The Guardian

“If your daily life, too, is governed by the whims of your local subway, this book is for you. Cartographer Jake Berman uncovers the ghosts of bygone transit systems and incomplete transportation plans of 23 cities across North America. The maps appear alongside explanations of the systemic inequities that permanently altered the transportation systems we still use today. Also, you may finally get an answer as to why your subway is consistently 20 minutes late.”


— Hyperallergic

"Using meticulous archival research, the cartographer and artist has successfully plotted maps of old train networks covering 23 North American metropolises."
— Globe and Mail

“Berman’s lively history of American subway debates takes us beyond the usual nostalgia of so much writing on the topic. It helps us to see how our ancestors’ values and motivations created the infrastructure we have and gives us the courage to make better choices now.”
— Jarrett Walker, author of Human Transit

“Berman’s comprehensive research and accessible writing style make for easy reading, and his complementary text greatly assists the reader in comprehending each locale’s unique situation. It is as much a critique of the rise and fall of industrial cities as it is a history of failed transit schemes, for which it should become recommended reading for anyone interested in the effects of unbridled capitalism, corrupt politics, and big egos on North American daily life.”
— Mark Ovenden, author of Underground Cities

“Berman’s many exceptional maps are provocations worth thousands of words each, conveying a history of relative transportation abundance in the U.S. There is no other book on public transportation like it.”
— Steven Higashide, author of Better Buses, Better Cities

“A comprehensive and accessible history of a profoundly consequential and underexplored cultural event. It makes you wonder at what was lost.”
— Angie Schmitt, author of Right of Way

“Berman takes us on a whirlwind cartographic and textual tour of urban rail transit’s lost lines and unbuilt extensions. Time and again, American voters and political leaders rejected or abandoned plans to create big, fast, bold transit systems that could compete with automobiles. While we can’t go back and change history, Berman provides a clear vision of just how much was lost.”
— Nicholas Dagen Bloom, author of The Great American Transit Disaster