American Quest

Jack Barth, Author Simon & Schuster $8.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-68240-8
In an amusing, undemanding read, the co-author of Roadside America reports on 10 ``quests'' that he undertook in semi-serious search of the elusive essence that may (or may not) be America. The quests include: retracing the route Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper charted in Easy Rider , this time in a Cadillac; kissing 10 of his favorite 1960s TV actresses; visiting the graves of nine famous, or at least interestingly nicknamed, baseball players; perpetrating a hoax in Harper's magazine; working in ``the world's largest'' McDonald's in Vinita, Okla.; and lobbying for a postage stamp commemorating comedian Freddie Prinze. Although he sometimes tries too hard, readers will find that his half-bewildered, half-belligerent attitude and pleasantly conversational assessments of the quests are worth the trip. An inexplicable and jarring chapter, in which Barth easily convinces serial murderer John Wayne Gacy to draw the cover for this book, damages an otherwise good time. Some of this material first appeared in Spy and other magazines. Illustrations not seen by PW. Author tour. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1990
Release date: 08/01/1990
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