The Race Underground

The Week called “The Race Underground” (February 2014, St. Martin’s Press) one of “18 Books to Read in 2014,” while Sam Roberts in the The New York Times said “Mr. Most weaves together the egos, political hurdles and other daunting challenges in a sweeping narrative of late-19th-century intrigue.” It was named a Best Book of the Month by Amazon.com and The Economist raved about it! “Doug Most’s meticulously researched history reveals that getting the subways built was more a collaborative than a competitive effort.” In its starred review, Kirkus Reviews wrote: “It’s a story of blizzards and fires, accidental gas explosions and dynamite blasts, of trenches tortuously dug, of sewer and water pipes rerouted and cemeteries excavated, of political infighting, of turnstiles and ticket-taking, of ingenious solutions to staggering problems.”

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Mensa and Subways

Posted on 07/3/14

mensaI have done at least 50 different events related to “The Race Underground”, but holy cow was my event at “Brilliance in Beantown,” the annual Mensa convention, a rollicking good time. It was a crowded room, probably close to 100 people, and they were loud, eager, excited, and, yes, sorta smart. They were quick to jump on me if I misstated something, or said something historical that’s considered debatable.

When I connected Thomas Edison with inventing electricity, they pounced all over me like bees to honey. “REFINED IT, MAYBE!” one voice shouted out. OK, fine.

But by far the best line came when I said I was going to read a passage from the book, from the first day Boston’s subway opened, September 1, 1897. An odd, audible sigh came from the back of the packed room, and I said with a smile, “What? Was that a sigh?” And another voice piped up, “She remembers that day fondly.”

The room erupted in laughter. A great time, thanks for the laughs and keeping my on my toes, Mensans. Here is my earlier link to some Mensa trivia.

 

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