Monday, October 13, 2014

Longest Road by Philip Caputo

The Longest Road by Philip Caputo

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; 2nd Printing edition (July 16, 2013)
  • Miles traveled: 8,314. Vistas condemned: wind turbine farms. Vistas endorsed: the Natchez Trace and the Alaska Highway. Lesson learned: don’t drive a trailer where you can’t get it out. Such were Caputo’s concrete experiences on a 2011 road trip in search of answers to a more ethereal question, What unifies America? That query, if already asked by literary roadsters like Jack Kerouac and John Steinbeck, bears repeating by writers of any stature, whether unknown or, like Caputo, renowned. Looking at age 70, Caputo felt a bucket-list impetus to drive the furthest border-to-border route in America: Key West, Florida, to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. With his pickup truck towing a symbol of highway wanderlust, an Airstream trailer, Caputo convinced his two dogs and, perhaps less quickly, his wife to climb aboard. Vowing to avoid interstates and motels, he loosely followed the historic route of Lewis and Clark. Injecting misadventures into the narrative, Caputo recounts an overland voyage that emphasizes the people he meets: Christian evangelicals; volunteers helping tornado-struck Tuscaloosa, Alabama; a Missouri farmer; residents of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation; and an assortment of Alaskan eccentrics. Pithily capturing their characters and opinions about the state of America, Caputo snares reading devotees of a classic American theme, the road trip. --Gilbert Taylor - Booklist.

My Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed taking this adventure with Mr. Caputo, his wife, and two dogs.  It was fun to learn how the Caputos lived in a mobile home for several months and traversed the United States without killing each other and have a great great time along the way.  They are on a quest to find out what holds the United States together.   It was just fun to read about how they found their way across America and how they learned that Americans are pretty much the same across the USA and that the glue holding the country together may be their love of America.

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