The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America, from Key West to the Arctic Ocean

Philip Caputo, Author
Philip Caputo. Holt, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9446-6
Reviewed on: 04/29/2013
Release date: 07/16/2013
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-8050-9696-5
Compact Disc - 705 pages - 978-1-62231-195-8
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-250-04874-5
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Faced with a double dose of mortality—his father’s death and the prospect of turning 70—Caputo decided in 2011 to live a long-dormant dream. He hitched an Airstream trailer to a pickup truck and drove from the southernmost point of the continental U.S (Key West, Fla.) to the northernmost point (Deadhorse, Ala.). During the trip, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author (A Rumor of War) asked people he encountered one burning question: what keeps the nation together during this wobbly period of high unemployment and political fragmentation? Caputo avoids an exercise in earnest, neon-flashing patriotism by simply letting his smalltown subjects talk. The interviewees—including a husband-and-wife missionary team, a French-speaking saloon owner, and a young man looking for hope in a desperate Indian reservation—yield uncluttered insight into the makeup of the American spirit. Caputo also provides ample historical background to the trip’s sites and a nice dose of humor. Curious and genuine, he weaves these elements together to produce a continental tale that is always engaging and frequently reassuring. (July)
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