The Iron Horse & I, Volumes I and II, by James Burke, is a collection of photographs taken by the author and an account of his experiences and impressions made on him by the trains he photographed and the railroad employees he met. The books have been prepared with one page of photographs adjacent to a page of narration. The narrative includes not only a description of the locomotives and trains shown on the adjacent page, but the author’s recollections of why the trains were at the particular location when photographed, the operation of the particular train, and the individual members of the crew of the train.
One unique feature of the books is the lack of use of normal printer’s type: all of the written text is in the author’s excellent handwriting, which makes seem each book almost like a personal letter to the reader.
Mr. Burke’s books are a poignant, beautifully written collection of personal experiences and photos “amplified by longhand legends from the ’40s and ’50s as seen by a hobo kid and from the cab.” Author, James Burke tracks steam from the early 1940s to its present use on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge railroad. All stories are hand-written by the author who also took the more than 600 original photos (most never seen in print before) in this wonderful set of two books. Included are stories and photographs of the Santa Fe, Missouri Pacific, Union Pacific, Rio Grande, Frisco and others.
—Reviewed by Ed Dabler
Reprinted with permission by “Santa Fe Historical Society “