Robert Reed is an adjunct professor of English at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. He lives in a 19th-century cottage in Old Town Alexandria and on Sideling Hill, near Paw Paw, West Virginia, where he pretends to live like Thoreau but can't exist without satellite television and microwave popcorn. Mr. Reed has written earlier books about train wrecks, the era of streamline industrial design, the development of the New York City elevated railroad system, and 19th-century Washington, DC. In recent years, he has written about architecture and urban design. Of his interest in the wreckage of voyage, Reed denies any obsession with the macabre. He argues that accidents are the reality of the every day.

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