Reviews of The Horseshoe Curve


Reviews of
The Horseshoe Curve: Sabotage and Subversion in the Railroad City

“Gold Medal”
Best Non-Fiction Regional Book in Mid-Atlantic: 2008 (Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland,  District of Columbia, and New Jersey)
—Independent Publishers Association of America

“President’s Award
—Blair County Historical Society: 2007

“Reviewer’s Choice”
—Midwest Book Review: 2007

“Intriguing and highly informative...Pennsy fans can’t afford to miss this one.”
—Randy Lee, Highlands Station, Aurora, Colorado

“Intricate and fascinating....Although non-fiction, the text captures the reader’s attention in the best tradition of spy novels by Ludlum, Silva, and Cussler....A fascinating account from the World War II era, which has profound relevance to 21st century terrorism awareness. A must-read for all history enthusiasts. Author weaves an intricate and fascinating fabric of historical fact, illuminated by personalized biographical vignettes that command the reader’s attention.”
—David W. Seidel, Historian
Horseshoe Curve Chapter, National Railway Historical Society

“This is a ‘must have’ for anyone interested in the Pennsylvania Railroad. While it is a work of non-fiction, it does indeed read like an espionage novel and holds your interest. The text is unique in the personalization of the many individuals who are revealed in the book. You feel, after reading this work, that you actually know the various individuals in a personal manner, rather than as names in a journalistic style of reporting. The second part of the book deals with the design and construction of the Horseshoe Curve and the PRR’s first five Presidents. You also come to know these Presidents, not as corporate figureheads, but as real people with families. This style sets this book apart from all those which preceded it dealing with Pennsylvania Railroad history.”
—David W. Seidel, Historian
Horseshoe Curve Chapter, National Railway Historical Society

“Fascinating...Suspenseful...I have enjoyed reliving events with those aborted daring Nazi saboteurs, relearning things I knew before, learning a lot I never knew, and seeing it all with Professor McIlnay’s guidance from the perspective of 2007.”
—William Harry Brady
J. Edgar Thomson Foundation

“Over the years many stories have been told and written about the World War II ‘Nazi saboteurs’ that tried to wreck havoc on the PRR Altoona Works and the Horseshoe Curve. Dr. McIlnay has done a splendid job reconstructing the lives and events of those saboteurs. Never before have we been able to look in such depth at that fateful mission. Dr. McIlnay has done a service to our nation in bringing to light these past events that have relevance in our lives today....”
—Cummins McNitt, Founding Director
Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum

“This book is quite timely, addressing our nation’s ability to deal with sabotage and terrorism.  One cannot help but draw comparisons between how our government agencies handled such activities in World War II and our intergovernmental failures that were exposed post September 11, 2001. Based upon Dr. McIlnay’s writing, it does not appear that we have come far in how we dealt, and deal, with resident aliens in times of war and conflict.”
—Cummins McNitt, Founding Director
Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum

“In drawing upon more than 300 original sources including diaries, biographies, published and unpublished histories, military records, engineering studies, company documents, court briefs, and FBI files (these last obtained through the Freedom of Information Act), The Horseshoe Curve weaves together three compelling events into a single coherent history. An inherently fascinating and thoroughly informative read, this is a documented history of a complex human and organizational drama that includes the founding of the Pennsylvania Railroad and the building of the Horseshoe Curve, making The Horseshoe Curve a remarkably vivid and very highly recommended history....”
“Reviewer’s Choice”
—Midwest Book Review (July 2007)

“Book of the Month” and “Staff Selection” (June 2007)
Barnes & Noble, Altoona

“Staff Selection” (September 2007)
Borders, Reading

“A comprehensive treatise that strikes at the very heart of the American industrial complex....The work demonstrates an impeccable level of meticulous research coupled with an effusive supporting bibliography to produce a first-rate literary work....The intricate treatment of those involved with the sabotage plot...affords the reader an impeccable series of events making for a fascinating trip through (a) turbulent stretch of our past.”
—The Waybill (March-May 2008)
Mystic Valley Railway Society
Hyde Park, Massachusetts

Review by Jim Snively, “Bookmark” Book Review, WPSU (National Public Radio), State College, Pennsylvania
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