Approaching Chicago: "Now we’re moving through the old industrial wastelands – strange blasted places that stretch for miles – smokestacks without factories, vast weedy parking lots, half-demolished factories, warehouses still in use, barrel fields. A few minutes later, luxury housing developments. A few minutes later, a barn. It’s not like I remember the Eastern Corridor, which was an interminable iron ditch lined with sagging rowhouses. But you can never judge an American town by the view from the train. They always drag you through the alley to the back door."