Books by Karl Zimmermann

Released: March 1, 2012

"The title will have limited appeal to general audiences who would be better served by a more inclusive book, but train enthusiasts will welcome another entry that fuels their railroading enthusiasm. (additional information, sources) (Informational picture book. 6-10)"
The first steam locomotive on track in the United States now holds a place of honor in a museum. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 2007

Despite lines like "the wheelhouse was alive with vibration from the wind, moaning and shrieking," this disappointing companion to Steam Locomotives: Whistling, Chugging, Smoking Iron Horses of the Past (2004) reads less like a similarly robust tale, and more like a tedious tally of names and routes. Zimmerman opens with a personal but abruptly truncated voyage aboard a coal-fired Lake Michigan cargo vessel, and closes with a question about the "authenticity" of modern steamships. With only occasional breaks for historical anecdotes, she uses the main text to list ships that once plied—or far less commonly, still ply—lakes, harbors and straits in North America and parts of Europe. An array of stately Mississippi riverboats, utilitarian ferries, graceful excursion boats and rugged "Lakers" are shown to good advantage in the many sharp, bright color photos, and Zimmerman has certainly done his research—but young readers aren't going to come away understanding how these ships were built or operated, or why anyone should care. (resource list) (Nonfiction. 9-11)Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2004

This vivid appreciation combines big, dramatic color photos taken in several countries over a nearly 40-year span with a lively, opinionated history that will clue readers in to both the development (and jargon) of steam railroading, and its enduring fascination. After opening with a personal reminiscence ("Love Those Locomotives!"), Zimmermann chronicles the growth of steam engines, from early "grasshoppers" to the mammoth "Big Boys" that roared over the US before being superceded by today's diesel-electric models. He tucks in side looks at renowned incidents and exploits, and closes with a poignantly short list of places where steam driven trains still run. His photos make those in other photo-surveys, such as Seymour Simon's Book of Trains (2002) look pallid, and his prose—"Tall driving wheels whirred, rods waved frantically, smoke belched from stacks"—is just as pictorial; few readers will come away without being caught up in the wonder of these magical, fuming behemoths. (index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)Read full book review >