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American Road: The Story of an Epic Transcontinental Journey at the Dawn of the Motor Age
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American Road: The Story of an Epic Transcontinental Journey at the Dawn of the Motor Age

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  62 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
A fascinating account of the greatest road trip in American history.

On July 7, 1919, an extraordinary cavalcade of sixty-nine military motor vehicles set off from the White House on an epic journey. Their goal was California, and ahead of them lay 3,250 miles of dirt, mud, rock, and sand. Sixty-two days later they arrived in San Francisco, having averaged just five miles a
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Hardcover, 274 pages
Published July 3rd 2002 by Henry Holt and Co.
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Joe
Apr 23, 2008 Joe rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Absolutely wonderful read about the Lincoln Highway across America. Davies uses the tale of the US Army's motor convoy across the country in 1919 using the Lincoln Highway as his 'vehicle' for telling the story of the first road to go all the way across the country. One of the more well-known participants on that convoy was an obscure Army officer named Major Dwight Eisenhower. This experience and his knowledge of the autobahns in Germany during WWII convinced Ike that a national road system was ...more
Annette
This is a road story telling the history of a 1919 military caravan that made a historic cross-country journey. Eighty-one vehicles set out to follow the not-fully completed Lincoln Highway http://lincolnhighway.jameslin.name/ ; in some locations the highway was little more than a dirt road. This military endeavor was also a promotion to gain local support and funding for completion of the highway. The cast of characters included a young Dwight Eisenhower, the future military commander in WWII a ...more
Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)
Warning - this is not a traditional review... more like a reading log.

Oct 2009:

Book club freebie from about 5 years ago. Finally getting around to browsing it, and remembering why I put it on the list - because my great-grandfather allegedly rode his motorcycle across the United States. Timing-wise, this had to have happened in the early days of cross-country travel, during or shortly after the era described in this book.

Nov. 2009:

Dry book, but skimworthy. Apparently in the early days of autos,
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Kathleen McRae
I enjoyed this read because it was a journey through America by a convoy of soldiers, starting on the east coast at the White house ending on the West coast in San Francisco.The convoy of eighty vechicles and 300 men drove 3250 mi anddrove an average of 5 miles an hour.It was epic because it was 1919 and there were very few roads just dirt tracks through most of the territory.Their objective was too raise interest and funds to promote road building across America.The car was just becoming an ...more
Heather
Jul 28, 2008 Heather rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Motorheads and history buffs
Recommended to Heather by: My Dad
Very interesting story, but tends to get a little boring. Once they get to Ohio, I recco skipping to the last few chapters because (SPOILER) every chapter is the same. Roads are horrible, cars breakdown, they finally get to the destination late and are given cigarettes, ice cream, beer (sometimes lemonade), then dance with the local ladies, get up the next morning and do it all over again.

The most insightful thing about this book is that this journey is responsible for Eisenhower's push for a US
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Alexander
Mar 04, 2011 Alexander rated it liked it
Interesting from a historical point of view, and whet my appetite to learn more about the Lincoln Highway, but not a riveting read. Feels kind of like a paint-by-numbers offering. It would have been interesting if the author, who apparently did drive a version of the Lincoln Highway (in whatever form it's in today) to do research for the book, interspersed the writing with his personal observations from his own journey.
Mike
Jun 04, 2013 Mike rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Automotive history buffs, transportation fans, Eisenhower completists
A great read about the beginnings of modern automobile travel and an event that heavily influenced the creation of the Interstate Highway System and, by extension, a large part of American culture. As the centennial of the Lincoln Highway arrives at the time of this writing, a good book to check out to add to your motoring knowledge.
Stew
Feb 08, 2010 Stew rated it it was amazing
Well told story of the War Department's transcontinental convoy from D.C. to San Francisco in 1919. What I like is how Davies' stealthily inserts the history of the development of our highways into this narrative. It's a largely untold but important part of U.S. history. Why did a Brit write this quintessentially American story? One has to wonder. But hats off to him for doing a fine job.
Dale
Sep 09, 2008 Dale rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
i didnt finish the book. While well organized and detailed, the topic wasnt compelling. i'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in the early history of the automobile and the developing auto industry.
Kevin Edmonds
Aug 07, 2008 Kevin Edmonds rated it liked it
Good book. A little slow in the first half but picks up as they get into the western states. Interesting to find out about how the US road system began!
Gary
Nov 30, 2011 Gary rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Roadtrippers
Will resonate well with anyone who's taken an epic road trip and feels their next one can't come soon enough.
Rob Harris
Dec 06, 2009 Rob Harris rated it liked it
An interesting story about the building of the transcontinental highway; from the political to the actual building of the road. Lots of fun historical facts in the story.
Diana
Jan 30, 2016 Diana rated it really liked it
Very interesting story of the Lincoln Highway and beginning of the auto age, focusing on the trans-continental journey of a large military convey.
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Kimberlyluisi
Dec 09, 2013 Kimberlyluisi rated it really liked it
A fun historical read that will prevent you from complaining about traffic forever.
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