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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wednesday, March 19 Tom Zoellner

Tonight on Bibliocracy: TOM ZOELLNER. My guest tonight is a gregarious and engaging social historian and researcher and, most of all, a terrific storyteller.  No matter the subject, Tom Zoellner finds a way in, and along with his unassuming yet authoritative voice he brings vulnerability and nearly ego-less experiential generosity.  His previous nonfiction has considered uranium and diamonds, respectively, the real-life humanitarian behind the Hotel Rwanda story, and offered an urgent cultural case study of the state of Arizona by way of the shooting of its congresswoman.  Train:  Riding the Rails that Created the Modern World, from the Trans-Siberian to the Southwest Chief is perhaps Tom Zoellner’s most ambitious book, and certainly covers the most territory, no kidding.  This one is bound to be an instant travel-writing classic, in the tradition of Paul Theroux and Pico Iyer, and will please both choo-choo fanatics and general readers with its rail-centric view of seven different parts of the world, each considered in relation to the tracks, the trains, the towns and the people, and forces that put them there.  Zoellner rides the rails, across China and India and the USA, looking out the window and looking into the past, with a brief journey into the future by way of high-speed bullet trains. Zoellner teaches at Chapman University, where I spoke with the author of the excellent A Safeway In Arizona, as well as Uranium, The Heartless Stone and An Ordinary Man. For more, see my recent blog post over at OC Bookly: 
Thanks for listening, on the radio or online, or as a free download from the KPFK audio archives.  All aboard!

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