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Michael K. Bess, David Lipset, Kudzai Matereke, Stève Bernardin, Katharine Bartsch, Harry Oosterhuis, Samuel Müller, Frank Schipper, Benjamin D'Harlingue and Katherine Roeder

Penny Harvey and Hannah Knox, Roads: An Anthropology of Infrastructure and Expertise (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2015), 264 pp., 16 illustrations, $26.95 (paperback)

Noel B. Salazar and Kiran Jayaram, eds., Keywords of Mobility: Critical Engagements (New York: Berghahn Books, 2016), 196 pp., $90 (hardback)

Lutz Koepnick, On Slowness: Toward an Aesthetic of the Contemporary (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014), 336 pp., 43 illustrations, $40 (hardback)

Gérard Duc, Olivier Perroux, Hans-Ulrich Schiedt, and François Walter, eds., Histoire des transports et de la mobilité: Entre concurrence modale et coordination (de 1918 à nos jours) [Transport and mobility history: Between modal competition and coordination (from 1918 to the present)] (Neuchâtel: Editions Alphil-Presses Universitaires Suisses, 2014), 462 pp., $54 (paperback)

Kimberley Skelton, The Paradox of Body, Building and Motion in Seventeenth- Century England (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2015), 204 pp., 60 illustrations, £70 (hardback)

Ruth Oldenziel, Martin Emanuel, Adri Albert de la Bruhèze, and Frank Veraart, eds., Cycling Cities: The European Experience—Hundred Years of Policy and Practice (Eindhoven: Foundation for the History of Technology, 2016), 256 pp., 100 illustrations. €37.50 (hardback)

Glen Norcliffe, Critical Geographies of Cycling: History, Political Economy and Culture (London: Routledge, 2015), 290 pp., 24 illustrations, $119.95 (hardback)

Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman, Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2016), 328 pp., 31 illustrations, $29.95 (hardback)

Mathieu Flonneau, Léonard Laborie, and Arnaud Passalacqua, eds., Les transports de la démocratie: Approche historique des enjeux politiques de la mobilité [The transport of democracy: A historical approach to the political issues of mobility] (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2014), 224 pp., €19 (paperback)

Erik M. Conway, Exploration and Engineering: The Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Quest for Mars (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015), 416 pp., 21 illustrations, $32.95 (paperback)

Hariton Pushwagner, Soft City (New York: New York Review Books, 2016), 160 pp., $35 (hardback)

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Eirini Kasioumi, Anna Plyushteva, Talya Zemach-Bersin, Kathleen F. Oswald, Molly Sauter, Alexandra Ganser, Mustafa Ahmed Khan, Natasha Raheja, Harry Oosterhuis and Benjamin Fraser

Max Hirsh, Airport Urbanism: Infrastructure and Mobility in Asia (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016), 216 pp., 80 black-and-white illustrations, 20 color plates, $25 (paperback), $87.50 (hardback)

Laura Bang Lindegaard, Congestion: Rationalising Automobility in the Face of Climate Change (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2015), 214 pp., $54.95 (hardback)

Neriko Musha Doerr and Hannah Davis Taïeb, eds., The Romance of Crossing Borders: Studying and Volunteering Abroad (New York: Berghahn Books, 2017), 302 pp., $90 (hardback)

Ehren Helmut Pflugfelder, Communicating Mobility and Technology: A Material Rhetoric for Persuasive Transportation (London: Routledge, 2017), 178 pp., 19 illustrations, $149.95 (hardback), $54.95 (ebook)

Christo Sims, Disruptive Fixation: School Reform and the Pitfalls of Techno- Idealism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017), 232 pp., $27.95 (paperback), $80 (hardback)

Charlotte Mathieson, ed., Sea Narratives: Cultural Responses to the Sea, 1600– Present (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), 281 pp., 5 illustrations, €93.59 (hardback), €74.96 (ebook)

Till Mostowlansky, Azan on the Moon: Entangling Modernity along Tajikistan’s Pamir Highway (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017), 240 pp., 25 black-and-white illustrations, $26.95 (paperback)

Steff en Köhn, Mediating Mobility: Visual Anthropology in the Age of Migration (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016), 208 pp., $30 (paperback)

Margaret Guroff, The Mechanical Horse: How the Bicycle Reshaped American Life (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2016), 295 pp., 10 black-and-white photographs, 5 black-and-white illustrations, $17.95 (paperback)

Melody L. Hoffmann, Bike Lanes Are White Lanes: Bicycle Advocacy and Urban Planning (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2016), 210 pp., $40 (paperback)

Alexander Braun, ed., Winsor McCay: The Airship Adventures of Little Nemo (Cologne: Taschen, 2017), 288 pp., $15 (hardback)

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George Revill

As the articles in this special section show, railways mark out urban experience in very distinctive ways. In the introduction, Steven D. Spalding makes plain there is no clear relationship between railway development and the shape and size of cities. For many cities, suburban rail travel has been either substantially insignificant or a relative latecomer as a factor in urban growth and suburbanization. Walking, tramways and the omnibus may indeed have had a much greater impact on built form, yet the cultural impact of railways on the city life should not be minimized. Iconic city stations are both objects of civic pride and socially heterogeneous gateways to the promise of a better urban life. The physical presence of substantial tracts of infrastructure, viaducts, freight yards and warehousing, divide and segregate residential districts encouraging and reinforcing status differentials between communities. Subways, metros, and suburban railways open on to the often grubby quotidian underbelly of city life whilst marking out a psychic divide between work and domesticity, city and suburb. Railways not only produced new forms of personal mobility but by defining the contours, parameters, and possibilities of this experience, they have come to help shape how we think about ourselves as urbanized individuals and societies. The chapters in this special section mark out some of this territory in terms of, for example: suburbanization, landscape, and nationhood (Joyce); the abstractions of urban form implicit in the metro map (Schwetman); the underground as a metaphor for the topologically enfolded interconnections of urban process (Masterson-Algar); and the competing lay and professional interests freighting urban railway development (Soppelsa). In the introduction Spalding is right to stress both the multiple ways that railways shape urban experience and the complex processes that continuously shape and re-shape urban cultures as sites of contest and sometimes conflict. As Richter suggests, in the nineteenth century only rail travel demanded the constant and simultaneous negotiation of both urban social disorder and the systematic ordering associated with large technological systems and corporate business. Thus “the railroad stood squarely at the crossroad of the major social, business, cultural and technological changes remaking national life during the second half of the nineteenth century.”