The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America, from Key West to the Arctic Ocean
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The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America, from Key West to the Arctic Ocean

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  528 ratings  ·  126 reviews
In The Longest Road, one of America’s most respected writers takes an epic journey across America, Airstream in tow, and asks everyday Americans what unites and divides a country as endlessly diverse as it is large.

Standing on a wind-scoured island off the Alaskan coast, Philip Caputo marveled that its Inupiat Eskimo schoolchildren pledge allegiance to the same flag as the...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published July 16th 2013 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published June 25th 2013)
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Bob Mayer
I read A Rumor of War a long time ago and was very impressed with the author and the way he approached the subject.

I've also crossed the country a couple of times in my Jeep, always staying off the Interstate, camping a lot. Also drove back from Puerto Vallerta to LA with a friend-- Mexico was great and the people were most friendly.

But to the book-- hitting 70, Mr. Caputo wanted to get this road trip out of his system Initially he was going it alone with his dogs, but then his wife signed. Par...more

I could not read Philip Caputo’s new book The Longest Road: Overland from Key West to the Arctic Ocean without reflecting on his extraordinary life. The man has had a hell of a wild ride all over the world, sometimes in extreme danger. Few have lived such a life and few can write as well as he does. His great Vietnam War memoir, A Rumor of War, is considered a classic. He led men in combat in the treacherous jungles of Vietnam. He fought beside them and watched them bleed and...more
Teri Stich
I do enjoy Travel Adventures, and I love a wry sense of humor; this book has both. This is the adventure Philip, his wife and 2 dogs took, traveling in an old Airstream from the Southernmost Point of the Continental US to the Northernmost Point reachable by road: Key West, Florida to Deadhorse, Alaska. On the way he asked those he met What unites and divides our country. Is it surprising most feel a positive uniting? Should it be surprising?
Caputo writes of their trials and tribulations, as we...more
Feb 11, 2014 Carmen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who love the USA; People who love road trips
Recommended to Carmen by: Library
Shelves: non-fiction
I knew I liked this book, because when I was finished reading it post-its were sticking out of it like thick eyelashes.

Philip Caputo decides to take a road trip from one end of America to the other with his wife, Leslie, and his two dogs. He's ostensibly looking for the reason the United States of America is so united even now, even when Americans disagree about a lot of issues.

I liked how Caputo loves his wife and his dogs. I liked his Zen attitude (as in: people always want, no matter how much...more
Nancy Oakes
My thanks to LibraryThing and to Henry Holt for my copy.

The author's father once said that there was nothing like being "in a car with everything you need, nothing more, and an open road in front of you." Jack Kerouac wrote "Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is so ever on the road." When Caputo's father, who loved being on the road himself, died, the author realized at age 69 that a lot of his own life was behind him, and he pondered about life ahead. He came up with this crazy idea...more
From Lewis and Clark to Jack Kerouac "on the road" American literature usually goes from east to west, a few have gone from west to east and Steinbeck and Charley circumnavigated. Caputo's is only south to north voyage journal that I know of. (In Alaska he learns he's been preceded by a traveler originating in Tierra del Fuego, perhaps another book is yet to come.)

The book chronicles the Caputo's (Phil, wife Leslie and their two English setters) trip from Key West, Florida to Deadhorse, Alaska....more
Biblio Files
It's road trip season and here's a book that will get you in the mood to hit the road.

Philip Caputo, who has written novels and nonfiction, starting with his Vietnam memoir of 1977, A Rumor of War, was in a philosophical frame of mind as he approached seventy. He wanted to take a long trip and the journalist in him couldn't imagine just wandering about aimlessly. He decided to take the pulse of the nation and find out what Americans think it is that holds us together as a nation, if in fact, we...more
Philip Caputo and his wife Leslie decide to rent an Airstream trailer and drive from Key West (the southernmost point of the United States) to the Arctic Circle (the northernmost point), asking people the question "What holds us together?"

Summers on the road in his childhood predisposed him to this venture, but the main factor was the growing anger fueling American public discourse - much greater in 2010 than in earlier years. "In Texas, crowds at a political event had called on their governor...more
Paul Theroux meets John Steinbeck, sort of. Caputo and his third wife along with two hyper bird dogs take a road trip in the summer from sun to snow. Shades of Travels with Charley but he's also pulling an Airstream trailer, which if you've ever pulled a trailer gives an entirely new dimension to the experience-one filled with anxiety when it comes to parking and backing up. You have to admire a 70 year old man for doing this. He's traveled plenty of places but he's always wanted to do something...more
John Anderson
Only a third of the way through Phil Caputo's "The Longest Road" on this first day of reading it, and I haven't been so entertained or instructed by my fellow Americans since reading Studs Terkel. Yesterday, the 12th anniversary of the worst crime ever committed against my country, I was wondering what makes the pluribus unum? Still suffering 9/11 and reeling from the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression, Americans are mad, by which I mean angry AND crazy. In my state recently, an...more
One of my favorite weekend activities is to hit the back roads to explore the countryside. I take photos of barns, hike with my dogs, discover history, eat in small restaurants and meet a variety of people. I plan road trips for fun. I would like to drive Route 66 and the Lincoln Highway. I don't need Paris, France when there are 24 towns in the U.S. named Paris.

Philip Caputo took on the challenge of driving from the southernmost point of the U.S. in Key West, Florida to the northernmost point a...more
I don't want to sound as though I'm panning the book, which wasn't bad although the insights Caputo sought seemed almost incidental and tacked-on to fulfill the book contract. My problem was that I never really "bonded" with the couple as a reader. It would be a tad harsh to say they were "slumming it"; however, the tone did become a bit condescending in places, as though the folks along the way were ... specimens. I wasn't that keen on the details focusing on the trailer itself, nor really on t...more
I was given a complimentary copy of this book. I'm assuming because #1, I have a blog of our US travels in an RV. and and #2 we have Setters as the author does.
I was excited to read this book with common interests. The author was out to discover the different lifestyles and attitudes of the American people in different areas of the country. Interesting concept.
Unfortunately, I was very bored with the book. Maybe because I'm living it or maybe because I've read...more
Sam Sattler
Two major life-changing events happened to Philip Caputo in 2010: he turned 70 and his father died. The two events, especially because they occurred so close together, left Caputo speculating about his own old age and how many years might remain to him. Realizing that he was approaching a now-or-never age, the author, accompanied by his wife, set out on a road trip he first contemplated during a 1996 visit to a remote Alaskan village. The result is The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America...more
Washington Post
In May 2011, Philip Caputo, his wife, Leslie, and their two dogs set off, as the subtitle of this account of their journey has it, “In Search of America.” Their route was unusual — from the southernmost point in the United States at Key West to as far north as it’s possible to go by car, the town of Deadhorse, Alaska. Their means of transportation was out of the ordinary, too: a rented 1962 Airstream trailer, “as American as the prairie schooner, its bright aluminum body and rounded lines remini...more
Fred Forbes
I enjoy road trips and travel essays so this one was right up my alley. Disappointed originally as he veered off a "blue road", US 41 in Southwest Florida on his way to Tampa once he discovered what an ugly clog it is in that part of the state and headed to Interstate 75 as most of us do. Too bad, I was looking forward to comments on Port Charlotte, Venice, Brandenton, Anna Maria Island and other little known gems in my corner of the world. But soon, back on the road through the smaller towns an...more
great topic from a writer with a great reputation but the final result falls short compared to other on the road books. Caputo makes some good contrasts between Parkman's Oregon Trail and Kerouac's On the Road but ultimately his political
commentary and condescension toward his subjects is distracting. he even ends on a political note which takes away from the travel aspect. his observations on travel are not
original--it's the journey not the destination. William Least Heat Moons Blue Highways i...more
I just finished a fantastic book, 'The Longest Road,' by Philip Caputo. I first became acquainted with Mr. Caputo when I read 'A Rumor of War,' his classic memoir of his Vietnam combat experience, which I also highly recommend. On the brink of turning 70, recently losing his father, and perplexed at the increasing political polarization of the United States, he sets out to travel from Key West, Florida to Deadhorse, Alaska to ask people he encounters along the way the burning question of what ke...more
Richard Thompson
Caputo, his wife and two big dogs set off in a big truck, pulling a very small Airstream trailer to drive from Key West, Florida to Deadhorse, Alaska. Caputo is just turning 70 and if he doesn't do this now, he might never do it... kind of a late life crisis thing. He is also wanting to ask, and possibly answer the question: What is it that unites the United States of America?

Caputo writes well. There are lots of good stories along the way, and we were able to vicariously visit some places that...more
John Maberry
I loved it. It's a great narrative, with entertaining and interesting conversations with people all along the route from Key West to Deadhorse. The political observations were spot on. The running commentary on Fred (the Tundra) and Ethel (the Airstream) were funny, especially for someone like myself who has had the experience of once being a newbie at traveling with an RV--not exactly the same as a trailer but most of the same issues with refrigerators, hookups, etc. We also have had the experi...more
Caputo is a great author. This true story of him, his wife and 2 dogs traveling from Key West to the Arctic Ocean is well worth reading. He stops in various places to ask people what they think hold this country together. He turns 70 on the trip and in reading all he and his wife do its an inspiration to all of us to get up and get going. The story is honest and funny and a fast read, makes you want to go somewhere right now.
More thought-provoking that your average travelogue. Caputo goes from Key West, Florida to the Arctic Sea with his wife and two English setters in a truck and small Airstream trailer. All along the journey, he asks people what they think holds our country together. The book is marked by wry humor and some really fascinating people.
Abby Altshuler
On chapter 12 of the audio version downloaded from the library. I believe the author is the narrator, he has a youtube video about the book and the voice sounds the same. I've already been to so many of the places he's describing as he travels in his vintage Airstream, but he and his wife go diagonally across the country, from Key West to Northern Alaska! His place/people descriptions remind me of what I've seen and make me want to get back on the road. He makes a # of rv-ing miscalculations lik...more
John Harder
Philip Caputo, a committed lefty, who occasionally lets his political views seep through, writes an enjoyable little memoir of his cross country journey. This journey is not your typical cross country jaunt. Instead of going from New York to Los Angeles, he chose to go from Key West, Florida to the Alaskan Arctic Ocean. All this in a Winnebago which also housed his wife and two dogs. The goal: find out if America is still united and if so, what is the glue that keeps us together.

It is unclear if...more
Jerrle Gericke
I was disappointed by this book. It was a wonderful adventure,but provoked no romance of the road in me. The writing seemed somewhat harsh and at times, choppy.
John Yingling
As a note, if you enjoyed this book, I would recommend reading Blue Highways, by William Least Heat Moon.
This book made me feel like I was on a road trip with my parents back when their whole brood of kids were still living at home. I was the youngest and probably understood the least why we would stop and take tours at historical sites and any other site and caught their interest. My mother would get to know random people on the road and try to make connections with any and everyone. I've been frustrated by this habit of hers many times in my life, but dammit if most of the times I'd think she was...more
Byron Edgington
Here we have another in a long, distinguished line of travelogue/memoir/Huck & Jim down the big river stories, this one with an interesting twist. Caputo and his spouse dip toes in the Carribean/Atlantic (Key West) Southernmost point of the U.S., then they depart across this vast nation on a (literally) Quixotic quest to wet those same toes in the Arctic Ocean on Alaska’s North Slope. Along the way, Caputo poses this question: “What holds us together as Americans?” His query goes out to folk...more
I love a good book about an American road trip. In this book, Caputo, his wife, and their two English setters drive from Key West to the Arctic Ocean. For the journey, their new pickup (Fred) is pulling a rented, vintage Airstream trailer (Ethel). It is 2011, and Caputo wants to use this journey to find out what is holding our fractured country together. They meet lots of interesting people across the country, all with something to say about life in 21st-century America. This book is a little mo...more
Alison Peacock
I owe a lot to this book. It rekindled something in me that needed to come alive by reminding me of my own cross-country road trip 11 years ago, a trip that needs to be written, but one that was so dauntingly huge, I didn't know where to start. Now I do: with the map. I nodded my head about some of the universal ways of the road Caputo also encountered, and enjoyed remembering places we both covered. His journey was a political one, and mine was personal, so those differences also fascinated me....more
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American author and journalist. Latest book is the travel memoir THE LONGEST ROAD. Best-known for A Rumor of War , a best-selling memoir of his experiences during the Vietnam War.
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“I really believe that when we start talking ourselves back, we'll have more to offer the world." he [Woodenkinfe] said. "I don't want a gray world."
"You mean taking back our cultures and where we come from."
"Absolutely! You want to talk about the fabric of this country, that's it."
"So rather than a melting pot, it would be a..."
"A blanket of color, all sewn in the shape of the U.S.”
More quotes…