Boomer : Railroad Memoirs

3.75 (4 ratings by Goodreads)
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This classic account of self discovery and railroad life describes Linda Grant Niemann's travels as an itinerant brakeman on the Southern Pacific. Boomer combines travelogue, Wild West adventure, sexual memoir, and closely observed ethnography. A Berkeley Ph.D., Niemann turned her back on academia and set out to master the craft of railroad brakeman, beginning a journey of sexual and subcultural exploration and traveling down a path toward recovery from alcoholism. In honest, clean prose, Niemann treks off the beaten path and into the forgotten places along the rail lines, finding true American characters with colorful pasts-and her true self as more

Product details

  • Book | 280 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 27.94mm | 399.16g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253222834
  • 9780253222831
  • 2,014,675

Review quote

"Ma[kes] the railroad experience come alive with all its grit, danger, romance, and general outrageousness... Possibly the finest book I've ever read about the actual experience of working on the railroad." -Kevin Keefe, Trains Magazine "A candid, unsentimental, and un-sensationalized account of a woman's exploration into the diversity of her complex nature-sexual, intellectual, spiritual." -Martha Banta, University of California, Los Angeles "As a bisexual, counter-cultural-type intellectual, she doesn't truly fit in any place, and she 'can't go home again'; but her marginality and her openness give her a privileged perspective from which to view the strange workings of class and sexual politics in America." -Bella Brodski, Sarah Lawrence College "Beyond the tracks, Niemann paints incandescent American landscapes. Inside the trains, and inside the 'rails,' beds, and bars, Niemann paints innerscapes of anguish, exhaustion, and razor-edged humor from which no light escapes. No light except the author's brilliance." -Helene Moglen, University of California, Santa Cruz "Niemann has a taut, lyrically restrained but vividly descriptive style, with an observational vigilance befitting a brakeman's mindset, and her narrative clips along like a boxcar rolling through the yard." -Bloom Magazine, June/July 2011 "Boomer is a fascinating mix of fact, history, self-confession, self-accusation, and self-forgiveness-a diary of both emotional relationships and travel." -Pasatiemposhow more

About Linda G. Niemann

Linda Grant Niemann teaches creative nonfiction at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia. She is author of Railroad Noir: The American West at the End of the Twentieth Century (IUP, 2010).show more

Table of contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction to the Indiana edition by Leslie Marmon Silko1. Breaking In2. Under the Freeways3. Boomer in a Boom Town4. Brakettes Invade Tucson5. Pasadena Gothic6. The Monterey Local7. This is the Place8. Cadillac Ranch9. The Pass to the North10. Down the Line11. Versions of Home12. A Road to Ride13. Northline14. Shasta15. End of TrackGlossaryshow more

Rating details

4 ratings
3.75 out of 5 stars
5 50% (2)
4 0% (0)
3 25% (1)
2 25% (1)
1 0% (0)
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