HORATIO'S DRIVE: America's First Road Trip

Dayton Duncan, Author, Ken Burns, Author , read by the authors with Tom Hanks, Philip Bosco, Kevin Conway et al. Random House Audio $24.95 (, unabridged, three CDs, 3 hrs., $24.95 ISBN ) ISBN 0-7393-0635-9

In 1903, Horatio Nelson Jackson, a 31-year-old doctor from Vermont, made a bet that he could drive a car from San Francisco to New York. At the time, there were only 150 miles of paved roads in the U.S., many of them east of the Mississippi. Most Americans had never seen a car, never mind taken a ride in one, and gas stations and road maps were practically nonexistent. Nevertheless, the intrepid Jackson (along with his mechanic pal, Sewall Crocker, and, later, a goggles-wearing bulldog named Bud) succeeded in completing the nation's first cross-country road trip in just over two months. Historian Duncan and documentary filmmaker Burns read the bulk of this audio adaptation, which is a companion to the forthcoming PBS film, with all the enthusiasm of a pair of travelers setting off on the open road. Their telling is often enhanced by music: a jaunty banjo sings when things are moving along nicely, and an agitated piano protests when the car gets stuck in mud for the umpteenth time. Hanks reads the letters Jackson sends home to his wife, lending Jackson the air of a sympathetic everyman. When the 20-horsepower open air vehicle finally cruises into Manhattan, a band plays as the narrators' voices burst with excitement and pride. Simultaneous release with the Knopf hardcover (Forecasts, June 16). (July)

Reviewed on: 09/01/2003
Release date: 07/01/2003
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