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The Great Society Subway By Zachary M. Schrag (Assistant Professor, George Mason University)

The Great Society Subway

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Using archival research as well as oral history, the author argues that the Metro can be understood only in the political context from which it was born: the Great Society liberalism of the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations. He includes general planning, routes, station architecture, funding decisions, land-use impacts, and more.

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The Great Society Subway Summary


The Great Society Subway: A History of the Washington Metro by Zachary M. Schrag (Assistant Professor, George Mason University)

Drivers in the nation's capital face a host of hazards: high-speed traffic circles, presidential motorcades, jaywalking tourists, and bewildering signs that send unsuspecting motorists from the Lincoln Memorial into suburban Virginia in less than two minutes. And parking? Don't bet on it unless you're in the fast lane of the Capital Beltway during rush hour. Little wonder, then, that so many residents and visitors rely on the Washington Metro, the 106-mile rapid transit system that serves the District of Columbia and its inner suburbs. In the first comprehensive history of the Metro, Zachary M. Schrag tells the story of the Great Society Subway from its earliest rumblings to the present day, from Arlington to College Park, Eisenhower to Marion Barry. Unlike the pre-World War II rail systems of New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia, the Metro was built at a time when most American families already owned cars, and when most American cities had dedicated themselves to freeways, not subways. Why did the nation's capital take a different path? What were the consequences of that decision? Using extensive archival research as well as oral history, Schrag argues that the Metro can be understood only in the political context from which it was born: the Great Society liberalism of the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations. The Metro emerged from a period when Americans believed in public investments suited to the grandeur and dignity of the world's richest nation. The Metro was built not merely to move commuters, but in the words of Lyndon Johnson, to create "a place where the city of man serves not only the needs of the body and the demands of commerce but the desire for beauty and the hunger for community." Schrag scrutinizes the project from its earliest days, including general planning, routes, station architecture, funding decisions, land-use impacts, and the behavior of Metro riders. The story of the Great Society Subway sheds light on the development of metropolitan Washington, postwar urban policy, and the promises and limits of rail transit in American cities.

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The Great Society Subway Reviews


Extensively researched, cleverly structured, and finely written, this book stands out for the way it provides an integral, comprehensive account of a key urban service. -- Georg Leidenberger American Historical Review 2007 In this superbly-written book, Zachary Schrag,... explains how this achievement came about and what its impact is. Technology and Culture 2006 The author makes us privy to the thinking that went into the system's design. -- Dennis Drabelle Washington Post Book World 2006 Schrag does a thorough job with his subject. -- Rachel DiCarlo Washington Times 2006 A timely look at how the Metro got where it is today. Civil Engineering 2006 It's a fascinating look at a modern transit triumph. Trains 2006 A graceful, fact-packed history of the genesis, development, and current state of the Washington Metro system. H-DC 2006 The Great Society Subway is a great book for students of contemporary transit history. -- Alexander D. Mitchell Railfan and Railroad 2006 An excellent book... a welcome and readable addition to the literature of how we construct the societies we inhabit. -- Alex Marshall Regional Plan Association Spotlight 2006 An exhaustively researched, engagingly written study of the planning, designing, building, and operating of the Washington Metro. -- Sy Adler Journal of American History 2007 Beginning with the history of Washington, DC, and the influences that shaped it, Schrag presents one of the clearest explanations I have ever read on these complex processes... a love story by an historian for his city and its people. -- William W. Millar Journal of the American Planning Association 2007 Most readers of T&C will find The Great Society Subway a joy to read. -- Gregory L. Thompson Technology and Culture 2007 A masterful new book... Schrag's The Great Society Subway gives an eloquent and hopeful explanation of how this marvelous system came to be, and backs it up with an enormous amount of evidence and keen historical perspective. Washington History 2006 A meticulously researched account. -- Phil Hervey Urban Land 2007 Schrag has written a valuable study of the role of infrastructure in shaping the modern, urban world, and he aptly shows both the possibiities and limitations of major public investments... insights especially illuminating. -- J. Lawrence Lee CRM: Journal of Heritage Stewardship 2007 A welcome and readable addition to the literature of how we construct the societies we inhabit. -- Alex Marshall Hartford Courant 2006 Without question high drama... I strongly recommend that you put down the latest Baldacci mystery and ready this very well written, comprehensive, and entertaining book... one terrific book that belongs on lots of shelves, from planners to historians to rail buffs to politicians. -- Konrad J. Perlman Journal of Planning Literature 2007 A remarkable book. It has drama, it has pathos, it has passion, it has literary grace. -- Bob Post Journal of Transport History 2007 In clear and engaging prose, Schrag interweaves facts with a wide range of pragmatic, political, and aesthetic matters with discussions of those who posed and resolved the issues. -- Pamela Scott Journal of Social History 2008 In clear and engaging prose, Schrag interweaves facts with a wide range of pragmatic, political, and aesthetic matters with discussions of those who posed and resolved the issues. -- Pamela Scott Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 2008

About Zachary M. Schrag (Assistant Professor, George Mason University)


Zachary M. Schrag is an assistant professor of history at George Mason University.

Table of Contents


AcknowledgmentsAbbreviationsIntroduction1. The City, 1791-19552. The Plans, 1955-19653. The Stations, 1965-19674. The Region, 1966-19675. The Bridge, 1966-19716. The Builders, 1972-19767. The Money, 1972-19808. The District9. The Suburbs10. The RidersConclusionNotesIndex

Additional information

GOR010488346
The Great Society Subway: A History of the Washington Metro by Zachary M. Schrag (Assistant Professor, George Mason University)
Zachary M. Schrag (Assistant Professor, George Mason University)
Creating the North American Landscape
Used - Very Good
Hardback
Johns Hopkins University Press
2006-03-15
376
080188246X
9780801882463
N/A
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.