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Summary

In this witty and entertaining collection of travel tales, an acclaimed journalist explores his obsession with trains - and what his rail journeys have taught him about culture and identity.

"I've gone around the world in installments. Every trip has been a revelation. I've watched regions, nations, and continents change moods and I've met more people on trains than in 40 years of airplane flights. Every train trip has been a spectacle. Trains are stages, cafés, bazaars. The only talk show that will never go off the air...." 

Beppe Severgnini has spent his life traveling the world, and not just because he's a journalist; he's a passionate, unflagging train buff. Off the Rails recounts some of his favorite trips across Europe, Australia, Asia, and the United States, each journey bringing listeners not only to a different place but to a different time, from his honeymoon on the Trans-Siberian Express (in a four-person compartment!), to a winding journey from Russia to Turkey during the last summer of communism, to a recent coast-to-coast trip with his son from Washington, D.C., to Washington State. 

Off the Rails is the perfect getaway for anyone with a touch of wanderlust, who dreams of escape or just likes to laugh. Filled with memorable characters and perceptive observations, it demonstrates - hilariously - what unites us. 

With the world in chaos and life in perpetual fast-forward, it's always the right time to hop on board with Beppe Severgnini and meet your charming, hapless, quarrelsome, romantic, shifty, quirky, endearing neighbors.

©2019 Beppe Severgnini (P)2019 Penguin Audio

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Captures the Romance of the Rails

the various train journeys are all so different nevertheless the author always manages to find the very best of the trains. his introduction of the many personalities who ride the trains with him greatly contributes to the enjoyment. I loved the final part when he gives an insight into himself by writing of his approach to writing. I thoroughly recommend this book.

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  • deipnosophist
  • 27-02-19

Brilliant Travel Narrative

Americans always seemed to be entertained by what foreigners think of them. In this case, so am I. Severgnini has a great perspective and balances banal observations with larger ideas nicely. You get the sense that he plays the quiet observer, but is undoubtedly extroverted enough to engage strangers in conversation. Ballerini is also great with a smooth voice that is never annoying.