Route 66 Remembered

Michael Karl Witzel, Author, M. Witzel, Author
Michael Karl Witzel, Author, M. Witzel, Author Motorbooks International $29.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-7603-0114-2
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-7603-1498-2
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Route 66 was, from the 1920s to the 1970s, the principal highway from Chicago to Los Angeles, until it was displaced by interstate highways. As this splendid contribution to American popular history shows, it played a significant role in our national development. Witzel (The American Gas Station) profiles many kinds of travelers, from carefree vacationers to weary Okies headed for what they hoped was a better life. He covers four principal subjects: attractions along the road (from phony totem poles to snake pits), filling stations, roadside eateries and motor hotels. While his text is very good, it is carried by 200 photos, more than half in color, which pay tribute to the twin gods Schlock and Kitsch. Readers will also pick up much Americana along the way, including the origins of corn dogs, carhops, chicken in the rough and house trailers. A minor defect is the absence of a capsule history of the highway, telling exactly when it began and ended, and, above all, a map. Even so, Witzel has produced a gem of nostalgia. (Apr.)
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