A wonderful, telling series of musings, notionally on the author's experience of Italian state railways, but at its best on the little joys, absurdities and annoyances of human life in general. This book will be particularly appreciated by those who know what it's like to travel with Trenitalia, but for those who don't, the book offers a particularly insightful introduction to Italian life through the medium of the train carriage. Parks's theme effortlessly takes in the perennial paradoxes of Italian life: from the tension between the country's arcane and complex regulations and its apparent disregard for them, to the extraordinary and enduring differences between North and South. Parks's love for and celebration of his adopted homeland are evident in each page, as are his warm humanity and sense of humour. The book also makes a strong case for the necessity of affordable railways in a civilised society. Read Stefano Maggi's 'Le Ferrovie' next if you are interested in following up the social history of railways on the peninsula (a theme which Parks touches on).