The railway book (and magazine) mania
in British railway enthusiasm
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This chapter shows that postwar Britain saw not a Railway Book Mania but a Book Mania tout court, with railway books a tiny proportion of all tomes published. Early book publishing houses serving the railway enthusiast were founded by men with a private enthusiasm for railways. This remains true for railway magazine editors and journalists. 'Not in Ottley' is the proudest claim any British railway bibliophile can slide among his text's footnotes, for George Ottley's work is a major peak in British railway scholarship's eccentric range. Though no prior enthusiasm drew him to this task, in 1952 he began 'Ottley's Folly', trekking through British railway literature's trackless wastes. Supplemented twice in the forty years since his first huge volume appeared, Ottley remains the railway fancy's bookish arbiter.

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