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Motoring West : automobile pioneers by Peter…

Motoring West : automobile pioneers

by Peter J. Blodgett

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0870623834, Hardcover)

In the first years of the twentieth century, motoring across the vast expanses west of the Mississippi was at the very least an adventure and at most an audacious stunt. As more motorists ventured forth, such travel became a curiosity and, within a few decades, commonplace. For aspiring western travelers, automobiles formed an integral part of their search for new experiences and destinations—and like explorers and thrill seekers from earlier ages, these adventurers kept records of their experiences. The scores of articles, pamphlets, and books they published, collected for the first time in Motoring West, create a vibrant picture of the American West in the age of automotive ascendancy, as viewed from behind the wheel.

Documenting the very beginning of Americans’ love affair with the automobile, the pieces in this volume—the first of a planned multivolume series—offer a panorama of motoring travelers’ visions of the burgeoning West in the first decade of the twentieth century. Historian Peter J. Blodgett’s sources range from forgotten archives to company brochures to magazines such as Harper’s Monthly, Sunset, and Outing. Under headlines touting adventures in “touring,” “land cruising,” and “camping out with an automobile,” voices from motoring’s early days instruct, inform, and entertain. They chart routes through “wild landscapes,” explain the finer points of driving coast to coast in a Franklin, and occasionally prescribe “touring outfits.” Blodgett’s engaging introductions to the volume and each piece couch the writers’ commentaries within their time.

As reports of the region’s challenges and pleasures stirred interest and spurred travel, the burgeoning flow of traffic would eventually and forever alter the western landscape and the westering motorist’s experience. The dispatches in Motoring West illustrate not only how the automobile opened the American West before 1909 to more and more travelers, but also how the West began to change with their arrival.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 20 Jul 2015 15:51:14 -0400)

"Motoring West: Automobile Travelers in the trans-Mississippi West, 1900-1950, is a proposed multi-volume series that will present a wide range of auto touring narratives from the beginning of the automobile age through the Second World War. When appropriate, early motoring guides will supplement the narratives. The accounts of motoring tourists, lost to readers' eyes in the decades since they were first published, are an invaluable resource for understanding the early twentieth-century West and the roots of recreational motoring. The documents capture many insights about the amazing advances of automotive technology during the era, reveal the influence that the steadily expanding presence of the automobile exerted upon the development of the West, and illuminate the similarities and differences in the ways that men and women engaged both the automobile and the many Wests that they encountered in their travels"--… (more)

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