Lapping America: A Man, a Corvette, and the Interstates

Claude Clayton Smith, Author
Claude Clayton Smith, Author . Burford $16.95 (312p) ISBN 978-1-58080-139-3
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In this featherweight, platitude-laden tale, Smith, an English professor at Ohio Northern University, circles the continental U.S. along the Interstate system. Taking the drive in a red 1996 Corvette, in his view "the county's best car," he heads out on the road because "certainly the greatest public works project in the history of the world deserved special recognition, if not outright celebration." Dreamed up by Dwight Eisenhower as a way of speeding military material in the event of war, the Interstate system stretches some 42,000 miles across the land, encompassing country, city and suburb. Unfortunately, Smith fills his tale with trivial and often snarky commentary about the land and people he encounters. He lards up his narrative with overly cute catchphrases—"Interstate ambush" for the crush of traffic clogging the road around cities, "garbage in" or "garbage out" for the low industrial parks that hug the outskirts of the cities he blows through at 70 miles per hour. Smith is so wrapped up throughout in his own narrow view of things that the reader is left out, abandoned by the side of the road as Smith laps America, his gaze firmly fixed on his navel. (June)

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