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The Longest Road: Overland in Search of…

The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America, from Key West to the… (2013)

by Philip Caputo

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I like "road" travel books and this is one of the best. Caputo's writing is fluent and insightful and, crucially the book never descends into a series of "and thens". He introduces a series of memorable characters from across the spectrum that is U S society and weaves their stories into his search for what it is that keeps America together, coming up with a series of ideas that, taken together may provide an answer, I recommend it to all devotees of the travel writing genre.
( )
  johnwbeha | Nov 18, 2015 |
Well researched book. Inspireing for my own future road trips! ( )
  untitled841 | Aug 20, 2015 |
Caputo and his wife take to the road in search of the answer to this question: What unites the United States? They start at the tip of Florida and drive all the way to the Arctic Ocean in Alaska in a truck pulling a classic Airstream trailer. And along the way they stop to meet everyone they see and to talk with everyone they meet. As all road trips are, they have several unexpected crises and experience several unexpected epiphanies. Yes, delightful. ( )
  debnance | Jan 26, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly. The cross country road trip has been a life-long fascination with me, and Caputo's journey adds another element from my wish list -- and Airstream! All the trials and tribulations are here, together with the wonder of the open road. Americana at its best.
  atelier | Nov 19, 2013 |
This is my favorite kind of travel book. The author, his wife and their two English setters travel, pulling a Airstream trailer, from Key West, Florida to Deadhorse, Alaska. His mission was to find out, from folks along the way, what was the glue that keeps this diverse United States together. Among stories of the folks they meet along the way, Caputo also supplies the reader with many local histories.
He uses the Lewis and Clark trail as his quasi guide. By doing, so he explores history and current conditions of the Native peoples who live or lived along the way. He also touches on citizens varying viewpoints of environmental issues such as big Ag, wind farms and Alaskan pipeline.
I tried to follow their route with my own map and was curious to see if the printed book included a map. It did have a small map on the inside front and back covers. In their infinite wisdom, my public library pasted the cover to these pages. But a large foldout map would have been great.
I listened to the book. Pete Larkin is the narrator, and he does a fine job. There were, however, editing problems. Paragraphs running together without pause were a bit disorienting at times. ( )
  geraldinefm | Nov 6, 2013 |
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(Preface) The idea hatched on Barter Island, a wind-scoured rock in the Beaufort Sea that was almost not an island; the channel separating it from the Alaskan mainland looked so narrow a center fielder on one side could have thrown to a second baseman on the other.
I don't know why my dream fell into such a long slumber.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805094466, Hardcover)

One of our greatest living writers completes an epic journey across America, Airstream in tow, and reflects on what unites and divides a country as endlessly diverse as it is large

September 1996 found Philip Caputo on Barter Island, a wind-scoured rock in the Beaufort Sea populated by two hundred Inupiat and a handful of whites. As he gazed upon an American flag above the only school for a hundred and fifty miles, he marveled that the children in that school pledged allegiance to the same flag as the children of Cuban immigrants on Key West, almost six thousand miles away. Awed by America’s vastness and diversity and filled with a renewed appreciation for its cohesiveness, an idea began to form. With enough time, gas money, and nerve he could drive from the southernmost point to the northernmost point of the United States that is reachable by road, talking to people as he went and trying to better understand what holds our great country together. And then, cicada-like, the idea went dormant, not to be reawakened for fourteen years.

In 2011, in an America struggling through the greatest economic downturn since the Depression and more divided than it has been in living memory, Caputo, who had just turned seventy, his wife, and their two English setters took off in a truck hauling an Airstream camper from Key West, Florida, to Deadhorse, Alaska. The journey, which traveled back roads and state routes, took four months and covered seventeen thousand miles. Caputo interviewed more than eighty Americans from all walks of life to get a picture of what their lives and the life of the nation are like in the twenty-first century and created a book that informs as much as it entertains.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:29 -0400)

Traces the author's 2011 road trip from the southernmost to the northernmost points of the United States to experience firsthand the country's diversity and political tensions in the face of a historic economic recession.

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