69 books like Last Train to Paradise

By Les Standiford,

Here are 69 books that Last Train to Paradise fans have personally recommended if you like Last Train to Paradise. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Oh, Florida!: How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country

Jason Vuic Author Of The Swamp Peddlers: How Lot Sellers, Land Scammers, and Retirees Built Modern Florida and Transformed the American Dream

From my list on modern Florida.

Why am I passionate about this?

Originally from Punta Gorda, Florida, I am an exiled Florida Man, living in Texas, and specialize in creative nonfiction. I love the absurd, the unusual, and enjoy finding ways to examine and teach history through unexpected topics and sometimes maligned or ridiculed things. My first book, for example, was on the infamous Yugo car. I then wrote a history of the ill-starred Sarajevo Olympics and the oh-for-twenty-six 1976-1977 Tampa Bay Bucs, and most recently a book on the wild heydays of Florida land development in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. I have a PhD in history from Indiana University Bloomington and have appeared on NPR’s "Weekend Edition," APM’s "Marketplace," and C-SPAN’S "Book TV."

Jason's book list on modern Florida

Jason Vuic Why did Jason love this book?

To outsiders, Florida seems baffling. It's a state where the voters went for Barack Obama twice, yet elected a Tea Party candidate as governor. Florida is touted as a carefree paradise, yet it's also known for its perils—alligators, sinkholes, pythons, hurricanes, and sharks, to name a few.  It attracts 90 million visitors a year, some drawn by its impressive natural beauty, others bewitched by its man-made fantasies. Oh, Florida!, by award-winning journalist Craig Pittman, explores those contradictions and shows how they fit together to make this the most interesting state.

By Craig Pittman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Oh, Florida! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To some people, Florida is a paradise; to others, a punch line. As Oh, Florida! shows, it's both of these and, more important, it's a Petri dish, producing trends that end up influencing the rest of the country. Without Florida there would be no NASCAR, no Bettie Page pinups, no Glenn Beck radio rants, no USA Today, no "Stand Your Ground,"...you get the idea.

To outsiders, Florida seems baffling. It's a state where the voters went for Barack Obama twice, yet elected a Tea Party candidate as governor. Florida is touted as a carefree paradise, yet it's also known for…


Book cover of Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida

Jason Vuic Author Of The Swamp Peddlers: How Lot Sellers, Land Scammers, and Retirees Built Modern Florida and Transformed the American Dream

From my list on modern Florida.

Why am I passionate about this?

Originally from Punta Gorda, Florida, I am an exiled Florida Man, living in Texas, and specialize in creative nonfiction. I love the absurd, the unusual, and enjoy finding ways to examine and teach history through unexpected topics and sometimes maligned or ridiculed things. My first book, for example, was on the infamous Yugo car. I then wrote a history of the ill-starred Sarajevo Olympics and the oh-for-twenty-six 1976-1977 Tampa Bay Bucs, and most recently a book on the wild heydays of Florida land development in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. I have a PhD in history from Indiana University Bloomington and have appeared on NPR’s "Weekend Edition," APM’s "Marketplace," and C-SPAN’S "Book TV."

Jason's book list on modern Florida

Jason Vuic Why did Jason love this book?

Gary Mormino ranges far and wide across the landscape and boundaries of a place that is at once America's southernmost state and the northernmost outpost of the Caribbean. From the capital, Tallahassee--a day's walk from the Georgia border--to Miami--a city distant but tantalizingly close to Cuba and Haiti--Mormino traces the themes of Florida's transformation: the echoes of old Dixie and a vanishing Florida; land booms and tourist empires; revolutions in agriculture, technology, and demographics; the seductions of the beach and the dynamics of a graying population; and the enduring but changing meanings of a dream state.

By Gary R. Mormino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Florida is a story of astonishing growth, a state swelling from 500,000 residents at the outset of the 20th century to some 16 million at the end. As recently as mid-century, on the eve of Pearl Harbor, Florida was the smallest state in the South. At the dawn of the millennium, it is the fourth largest in the country, a megastate, inspiring the invention of new words and expressions: space coast, climate control, growth management, retirement community, theme park, edge cities, shopping mall, boomburbs, beach renourishment, Interstate, and Internet. Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams attempts to understand the firestorm…


Book cover of Bubble in the Sun: The Florida Boom of the 1920s and How It Brought on the Great Depression

Jason Vuic Author Of The Swamp Peddlers: How Lot Sellers, Land Scammers, and Retirees Built Modern Florida and Transformed the American Dream

From my list on modern Florida.

Why am I passionate about this?

Originally from Punta Gorda, Florida, I am an exiled Florida Man, living in Texas, and specialize in creative nonfiction. I love the absurd, the unusual, and enjoy finding ways to examine and teach history through unexpected topics and sometimes maligned or ridiculed things. My first book, for example, was on the infamous Yugo car. I then wrote a history of the ill-starred Sarajevo Olympics and the oh-for-twenty-six 1976-1977 Tampa Bay Bucs, and most recently a book on the wild heydays of Florida land development in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. I have a PhD in history from Indiana University Bloomington and have appeared on NPR’s "Weekend Edition," APM’s "Marketplace," and C-SPAN’S "Book TV."

Jason's book list on modern Florida

Jason Vuic Why did Jason love this book?

The 1920s in Florida was a time of incredible excess, immense wealth, and precipitous collapse. The decade there produced the largest human migration in American history, far exceeding the settlement of the West, as millions flocked to the grand hotels and the new cities that rose rapidly from the teeming wetlands. The boom spawned a new subdivision civilization—and the most egregious large-scale assault on the environment in the name of “progress.”

By Christopher Knowlton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bubble in the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Christopher Knowlton, author of Cattle Kingdom and former Fortune writer, takes an in-depth look at the spectacular Florida land boom of the 1920s and shows how it led directly to the Great Depression.

The 1920s in Florida was a time of incredible excess, immense wealth, and precipitous collapse. The decade there produced the largest human migration in American history, far exceeding the settlement of the West, as millions flocked to the grand hotels and the new cities that rose rapidly from the teeming wetlands. The boom spawned a new subdivision civilization-and the most egregious large-scale assault on the environment in…


Book cover of The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise

Sharon Levy Author Of The Marsh Builders: The Fight for Clean Water, Wetlands, and Wildlife

From my list on how humanity fouled water and why we need wetlands.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary thirty years ago, when I first moved to town. At the time, I was working as a field biologist, and I loved to hang out at the marsh and birdwatch—I’d see everything from pelicans to peregrine falcons. Later I shifted from field biology to science writing, and some of my first articles were about how the Arcata Marsh serves both as a wildlife habitat and a means of treating the city’s sewage. I learned about the grassroots movement that created the marsh, and the global history of wetlands loss. I’ve been hooked on wetlands ever since.

Sharon's book list on how humanity fouled water and why we need wetlands

Sharon Levy Why did Sharon love this book?

During research for my book, I visited manmade wetlands in south Florida, built to filter farm runoff from the water before it flows into Everglades National Park. These constructed wetlands are thick with alligators, spoonbills, storks, hawks, and other wildlife—but they’re just an echo of the surviving Glades. Now among the most cherished natural areas on Earth, in the settlement era the Everglades was written off as wasted space. Early in the 20th century the northern half of the Everglades was drained and turned into sugar fields. Today polluted runoff from those farms threatens the surviving remnants of the Everglades ecosystem. 

Grunwald’s book shows the human quirks and greed that drove the Everglades’ destruction, and that sometimes get in the way of its restoration.

By Michael Grunwald,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Swamp as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Brilliant.” —The Washington Post Book World * “Magnificent.” —The Palm Beach Post * “Rich in history yet urgently relevant to current events.” —The New Republic

The Everglades in southern Florida were once reviled as a liquid wasteland, and Americans dreamed of draining it. Now it is revered as a national treasure, and Americans have launched the largest environmental project in history to try to save it.

The Swamp is the stunning story of the destruction and possible resurrection of the Everglades, the saga of man's abuse of nature in southern Florida and his unprecedented efforts to make amends. Michael Grunwald,…


Book cover of All Aboard With E.M. Frimbo: World's Greatest Railroad Buff

Matthew Stevenson Author Of Reading the Rails

From my list on getting inspired to ride a train.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an American writer who lives in Switzerland, in the vineyards outside Geneva, but I grew up in the 1960s riding night trains around the United States in the company of my father, who loved trains and rode them for his work. From the soaring columns of New York’s Pennsylvania Station, we took trains to Chicago, Wyoming, Denver, Albuquerque, New Orleans, and beyond. In my adult writing life, I've taken trains across Russia, China, India, Australia, the Middle East, Japan, and just about every corner of Europe. Once, I rode all the trains in East Africa between Nairobi and Johannesburg, during which excursion the Tazara Express was three days late into Kapiri Mposhi, Tanzania.

Matthew's book list on getting inspired to ride a train

Matthew Stevenson Why did Matthew love this book?

Sadly, much of Mr. Frimbo’s train world no longer exists, at least in the United States, but this book—a collection of delightful essays from train journeys—is a fitting legacy to a departed rail network. Whitaker was a copyeditor at The New Yorker. Later he traveled with Tony Hiss, also at The New Yorker, and the two have preserved in print the quirkiness and greatness of what were America’s passenger trains, from the Twentieth Century Limited to long-forgotten branch lines.

By Rogers E. M. Whitaker, Tony Hiss, Mark Livingston (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Aboard With E.M. Frimbo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

International in scope, this series of non-fiction trade paperbacks offers books that explore the lives, customs and thoughts of peoples and cultures around the world.


Book cover of In the Forest of No Joy: The Congo-Océan Railroad and the Tragedy of French Colonialism

Edward Berenson Author Of Heroes of Empire: Five Charismatic Men and the Conquest of Africa

From my list on the impact of European colonialism on Africa and Africans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent most of my career teaching and writing about French history. In the 1990s, it became belatedly clear to me and other French historians that France shouldn’t be understood purely as a European nation-state. It was an empire whose imperial ambitions encompassed North America, the Caribbean, Africa, Indochina, and India. By the twentieth century, and especially after 1945, large numbers of people from those colonial places had emigrated to mainland France, claiming to belong to that country and asserting the right to live there. Their presence produced a great deal of political strife, which I wanted to study by looking at France’s colonial past.

Edward's book list on the impact of European colonialism on Africa and Africans

Edward Berenson Why did Edward love this book?

JP Daughton tells the horrifying story of the Congo-Océan railroad, a massive, ill-conceived construction project (1921-34) whose French overseers doomed some 20,000 African workers to die. This story, revealing as it does France’s imperial hubris and callous disregard of human suffering, should have been told a long time ago. But it has been buried by bureaucrats, overlooked by historians, and made invisible to those who chose not to see. We owe Daughton a great debt for bringing it to light and for masterfully adding a new chapter to the tragic history of Central Africa under European colonial rule.

By J.P. Daughton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Forest of No Joy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Congo-Ocean railroad stretches across the Republic of Congo from Brazzaville to the Atlantic port of Pointe-Noir. It was completed in 1934, when Equatorial Africa was a French colony, and it stands as one of the deadliest construction projects in history. Colonial workers were subjects of an ostensibly democratic nation whose motto read "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity," but liberal ideals were savaged by a cruelly indifferent administrative state.

African workers were forcibly conscripted and separated from their families, and subjected to hellish conditions as they hacked their way through dense tropical foliage-a "forest of no joy"; excavated by hand thousands of…


Book cover of Metropolitan Corridor: Railroads and the American Scene

Patrick N. Allitt Author Of A Climate of Crisis: America in the Age of Environmentalism

From my list on understanding American environmental history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a history professor at Emory University. I was born and raised in England and feel equally at home in Britain and America. I’ve written six books on religious, political, and environmental history and one on my life as a college professor. I’ve also made eleven recorded lecture series with The Great Courses, on a wide variety of topics, including a series on the History of the Industrial Revolution and a series titled The Great Tours: England, Scotland, and Wales.

Patrick's book list on understanding American environmental history

Patrick N. Allitt Why did Patrick love this book?

Railroads usually show up in American history books when they’re just getting started (1830), linking up the two coasts (1869), or going into catastrophic decline in competition with cars, trucks, and aircraft (the 1960s). Stilgoe, a professor of environmental design at Harvard, is much more interested in their long dominance from the 1860s to the 1950s and how they facilitated the development of American cities, the siting of power stations, the development of suburbs, and the rise of industrial parks. Nothing’s too humble and grimy to escape his notice. In one bravura passage, he even explains the truth behind the “Valley of Ashes” in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

By John R. Stilgoe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Metropolitan Corridor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pathbreaking examination of the impact of railroads on American culture and the built environment. Prof. Stilgoe focuses on how the railroads created metropolitan corridors that not only shaped the landscape but also American attitudes towards industrial might, exploration of the countryside and Nature, and the possibility of an ordered and beautiful future. Illustrated throughout with black and white photos as well as drawings. With extensive notes. 397 pages with index.


Book cover of Indian Railways: The Weaving of a National Tapestry

Rajendra B. Aklekar Author Of India’s Railway Man: A Biography of E. Sreedharan

From my list on railways and trains.

Why am I passionate about this?

Rajendra B. Aklekar (born 1974) is an Indian journalist with over 25 years of experience and author of best-selling books on India’s railway history and heritage. He is also the biographer of India’s legendary railway engineer Dr. E Sreedharan. With museology from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharasj Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly the Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai, Aklekar is also a Google-certified Digital Marketer. Aklekar, associated with the Indian Railway Fans’ Club Association, Indian Steam Railway Society, Rail Enthusiasts Society, has contributed significantly while setting up the Rail Heritage Gallery at the UNESCO-listed Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station, formerly Victoria Terminus building, Bombay, and documentation of heritage relics of India’s first railway.

Rajendra's book list on railways and trains

Rajendra B. Aklekar Why did Rajendra love this book?

This is another book on the same subject written by an eminent historian and economist. I am recommending this book because of the clear and categorical historical decade-wise demarcations since the inception of railways in India since the 1830s. The 20th century is summarised in one entire chapter, bringing a contemporary context. One of the best parts of the book is a timeline of the government policies and committees on Indian Railways in a tabular form that gives a quick summary of how the organization progressed in its different forms, including the seamless transfer from old colonial railways to national railways adding the current reforms and policies. Another key feature of the book is that it gives a timeline of the various railway companies and railway lines spread across India.

I am also proud to mention that the book liberally quotes my first book when it mentions India’s railway…

By Bibek Debroy, Sanjay Chadha, Vidya Krishnamurthi

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Indian Railways as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The fascinating story of the network that made modern India The railways brought modernity to India. Its vast network connected the far corners of the subcontinent, making travel, communication and commerce simpler than ever before. Even more importantly, the railways played a large part in the making of the nation: by connecting historically and geographically disparate regions and people, it forever changed the way Indians lived and thought, and eventually made a national identity possible. This engagingly written, anecdotally told history captures the immense power of a business behemoth as well as the romance of train travel; tracing the growth…


Book cover of The Great Railway Bazaar

Matthew Stevenson Author Of Reading the Rails

From my list on getting inspired to ride a train.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an American writer who lives in Switzerland, in the vineyards outside Geneva, but I grew up in the 1960s riding night trains around the United States in the company of my father, who loved trains and rode them for his work. From the soaring columns of New York’s Pennsylvania Station, we took trains to Chicago, Wyoming, Denver, Albuquerque, New Orleans, and beyond. In my adult writing life, I've taken trains across Russia, China, India, Australia, the Middle East, Japan, and just about every corner of Europe. Once, I rode all the trains in East Africa between Nairobi and Johannesburg, during which excursion the Tazara Express was three days late into Kapiri Mposhi, Tanzania.

Matthew's book list on getting inspired to ride a train

Matthew Stevenson Why did Matthew love this book?

In the early 1970s, the prolific Paul Theroux decided to ride as many trains as he could find between London and Japan, and to come back on the Trans-Siberian from Vladivostok. There are a few gaps in his rail line (Afghanistan isn’t well served by trains but he does manage to catch a Kyber Pass local), but otherwise he stitches together an itinerary that takes him across the Balkans, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Southeast Asia, and finally Japan. He chats up everyone he meets, and the book is a cross between a compelling account of numerous train journeys and novelistic dialogue with his fellow travelers (including poor Mr. Duffill who in Venice gets off and misses the train he and Theroux were on). Theroux can be cynical, but it is cynicism born of honesty, and it’s impossible to read this book and not want to ride night trains across India…

By Paul Theroux,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Great Railway Bazaar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fired by a fascination with trains that stemmed from childhood, Paul Theroux set out one day with the intention of boarding every train that chugged into view from Victoria Station in London to Tokyo Central, and to come back again via the Trans-Siberian Express. This is his story.


Book cover of Building the Railways of the Raj, 1850-1900

Rajendra B. Aklekar Author Of India’s Railway Man: A Biography of E. Sreedharan

From my list on railways and trains.

Why am I passionate about this?

Rajendra B. Aklekar (born 1974) is an Indian journalist with over 25 years of experience and author of best-selling books on India’s railway history and heritage. He is also the biographer of India’s legendary railway engineer Dr. E Sreedharan. With museology from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharasj Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly the Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai, Aklekar is also a Google-certified Digital Marketer. Aklekar, associated with the Indian Railway Fans’ Club Association, Indian Steam Railway Society, Rail Enthusiasts Society, has contributed significantly while setting up the Rail Heritage Gallery at the UNESCO-listed Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station, formerly Victoria Terminus building, Bombay, and documentation of heritage relics of India’s first railway.

Rajendra's book list on railways and trains

Rajendra B. Aklekar Why did Rajendra love this book?

This is a key book on the mountain railways of India. While all other history books look at the overall context of Indian Railways, this one, in particular, focuses on the “Ghat sections” of Indian Railways that were built as early as the 1860s with primitive technology, labour and sheer hard work. I personally recommend this work because it explores a not-so-popular yet very important part of the construction of the first railway lines in India. The book has minute details of the labour numbers, the various communities involved, and how work went ahead in the difficult most terrain and tropical weather. I am also proud to be associated with late Kerr during his research visits to India and assist him in his work.

By Ian J. Kerr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Building the Railways of the Raj, 1850-1900 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

25,000 miles of rail were constructed in India from 1850 to 1900, involving a considerable investment of British capital, railway technology, engineers, skilled workmen and millions of Indian labourers. This is a detailed history of the development of the Indian railroad.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in trains and railways, Florida, and Key West?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about trains and railways, Florida, and Key West.

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