August 12th, 2014

_The Race Underground_: a disappointment before page 10

In addition to some of the worst quality paper I have ever encountered in a paperback, and what appears to be binding glue making some of the early pages stick together, I have some issues with the breathless introduction. But I'll ignore that in favor of this gem, found on page 9.

"Alfred Ely Beach was born into a prestigious family on September 1, 1826, in Springfield, Massachusetts, an hour west of Boston."

(1) It sure as fuck took longer to get from Boston to Springfield than an hour, in 1826.
(2) It is 90 miles on the pike currently; definitely more than an hour for any practical purpose, optimistically you might make it in under 90 minutes.
(3) The nearest civilian airfield I'm finding is Bradley Field (does Springfield not have a muni field? Perhaps I missed it), so even _flying_ you are going to have to provide ground transport on either end, likely bringing the total above an hour.

Now, if the author means Greater Boston ... but Greater Boston didn't exist in 1826.

The only way we can make Springfield be an hour west of Boston is with a helicopter.

My guess is that this is going to continue.

ETA: "the idea of multiple people riding together in the same vehicle seemed farfetched". True, this is talking about commuting. But la diligence already existed, so it's not like it was _that_ weird of an idea.

ETAYA: "But the driver of the second [horse drawn vehicle on rails], thinking he was still steering an omnibus, pulled on the reigns [sic] of the horses rather than applying the brake, as he'd been taught."

HONESTLY! I COULD NOT MAKE THIS UP!

ETA Still more: "nine days after Lincoln ended slavery by signing the Emancipation Proclamation". *sigh* No. No. No. No. Declared slaves in areas still in rebellion free. Exempted slave areas which were under Union control. Did not outlaw or end slavery.

What the heck is going on over at St. Martin's Press? This isn't difficult stuff! These are stray phrases that could be easily removed with no damage to the text. "nine days after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation" would have gotten no comment from me, whereas the obvious error about ending slavery caused me to notice that they also screwed up the opening date of the London subway. "nine days" is correct, but Jan 9 is given in the text for the opening day when it was actually Jan 10.

Tell me again why anyone likes traditional publishing? This is pretty ridiculous.