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Roads Driving America's Great Highways (Paperback)

Author:  Larry McMurtry
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Learn more about Roads:

Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 0684868857
ISBN-13: 9780684868851
Sku: 30737089
Publish Date: 4/10/2007
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 8H x 5.25L x 0.75T
Pages:  208
Age Range:  NA
I wanted to drive the American roads at the century's end, to look at the country again, from border to border and beach to beach. My son, James, a touring musician who sees, from ground level, a great deal of America in the line of duty, says that when it isn't his turn to drive the van he likes to sit for long stretches, looking out the window. "There's just so much to see," he says, and he's right. There's just so much to see. (from the first line)
"I know many ladies, some of whom might like a little trip now and then, but I know no one who would be likely to enjoy sitting in a car with me while I plunge eight hundred miles down a highway in a single day, not equipped with a Zagat and not even stopping for museums. Particularly not stopping for museums, the acquisition of a broadened cultural awareness not being the point of these trips at all."
As he crisscrosses America--driving in search of the present, the past, and himself--western chronicler Larry McMurtry shares his fascination with this nation's great trails and the culture that has developed around them.
From the Publisher:
The author shares his fascination with trails and the culture that has grown up on either side of them as he reminisces about a cross-country trip, recounting the places he has seen, the people he has met and the books he has read.The author shares his fascination with trails and the culture that has grown up on either side of them as he reminisces about a cross-country trip, recounting the places he has seen, the people he has met and the books he has read.As he crisscrosses America -- driving in search of the present, the past, and himself -- Larry McMurtry shares his fascination with this nation's great trails and the culture that has developed around them.

Ever since he was a boy growing up in Texas only a mile from Highway 281, Larry McMurtry has felt the pull of the road. His town was thoroughly landlocked, making the highway his "river, its hidden reaches a mystery and an enticement. I began my life beside it and I want to drift down the entire length of it before I end this book."

In Roads, McMurtry embarks on a cross-country trip where his route is also his destination. As he drives, McMurtry reminisces about the places he's seen, the people he's met, and the books he's read, including more than 3,000 books about travel. He explains why watching episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show might be the best way to find joie de vivre in Minnesota; the scenic differences between Route 35 and I-801; which vigilantes lived in Montana and which hailed from Idaho; and the history of Lewis and Clark, Sitting Bull, and Custer that still haunts Route 2 today.

As it makes its way from South Florida to North Dakota, from eastern Long Island to Oregon, Roads is travel writing at its best.

Larry McMurtry writes about his travels in America, beginning with his Texas town a mile from Rte. 281 that runs from Manitoba to Mexico, and ending with a trip from Seattle to Omaha via seven U.S. highways. En route, he provides us with his thoughts not only about highways and traveling on them, but about episodes in American history, his boyhood, his own books, and the books of others. A New York Times Notable Book for 2000.
Author Bio
Larry McMurtry
The son of a cattle rancher, Larry McMurtry spent most of his childhood on horseback under the vast, blue sky of the Texas Panhandle. In 1958, he received a B.A. from North Texas State University and in 1960 an M.A. from Rice University. In 1959, McMurtry married Josephine Ballard. They had a son, James Lawrence McMurtry, and were divorced in 1966. McMurtry won a Stegner Fellowship to do graduate work at Stanford University, and then taught creative writing at Rice. His first book, HORSEMAN, PASS BY, was published in 1961 and was immediately hailed as the first great novel to depict the conflict between the Old West and the New West. This tale of an old-time cattleman and his unscrupulous stepson (made into the movie HUD) began what would become a string of literary and commercial successes for McMurtry. Many of his books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning LONESOME DOVE, have achieved best-seller status, and several more, including BUFFALO GIRLS, TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, and THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, have been adapted for film. The major theme of most of his literary work is disillusionment with the myth of the West. McMurtry is also a well-known antiquarian bookseller (and collector), who has turned his Texas home town into an important center for used and rare books.


New York Times
"Though the volume is simply an account of his desultory travels through the United States, it leaves the reader with a haunting sense of how the country has changed in the last half-century....[I]t's like a long, meandering road trip with an affable raconteur who likes to comment on the landscape glimpsed through the windshield while reminiscing about earlier visits to the region and books he once read." - Michiko Kakutani 07/06/2000

Wall Street Journal
"Mr. McMurtry doesn't present any grand opinions on the state of the U.S. Instead, like the fine writer he is, he allows an accretion of detail to paint an entertaining, knowing and sympathetic picture of our idiosyncratic American culture." - Robert J. Hughes 07/07/2000

Chicago Tribune
"McMurtry's prose at times reaches a level of elegance and wistfulness that makes the heart ache....But however wistful and nostalgic he may at times sound, he is never solipsistic, self-absorbed or melodramatic. Rather, the book recommends solitude and pensive introspection, showing us that it is a worthwhile endeavor, one that makes us more humane and thus capable of creating a more sensitive and conscious self. It's a wonderful journey that is ultimately personal and therefore all the more generous in taking us along...." - Manuel L. Martinez 07/17/2000

New York Times Book Review
"[McMurtry] has a reporter's eye, an affectionate ear for everyday speech and, yes, a Dickensian storyteller's facility....[T]the book is not an aid to travel but an occasion for fleeting, from-the-hip commentary on anything along the way that comes to his eye or mind - Timothy Foote 07/16/2000

Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Unlike William Least Heat-Moon in 1982's BLUE HIGHWAYS..., McMurtry refuses to disparage the Pizza Huts and K-Marts and 7-Elevens that dot the strip malls and dysfunction junctions that span today's United States.... [T]here is something exquisitely life-affirming about ROADS....ROADS is not just about interstate attractions and gas pumps off the exits; it's a meditation on growing old in America and a sharing of the wisdom McMurtry has gleaned...." - Douglas Brinkley 07/31/2000

Product Attributes

Product attributeeBooks:   Kobo
Product attributeBook Format:   Paperback
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0208
Product attributePublisher:   Simon & Schuster
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