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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  ·  765 ratings  ·  167 reviews

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 childre
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Picador (first published June 25th 2013)
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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
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
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
Apr 28, 2015 Carmen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who love the USA; People who love road trips
Recommended to Carmen by: Library
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Caputo wrote a travelog of a very large chunk of rural America , enjoying his time and trying to find out how a country with such human diversity as the USA could remain bonded as one nation. He spoke with Inuit Alaskans, African Americans, Lakota Sioux and multiple others. He tried to discover how individual petroleum engineers and earth firsters can still proudly claim affinity for the USA though much separates them. I am not sure Caputo ever explained this but he is a great story teller who p ...more
Lee D'anna
Loved this book, perhaps because I am a road trip junkie but also because I enjoyed the wry sense of humor the author injected at regular intervals. A journalist first, he talked with many people along the way about what they thought united or divided people in America. Often their two dogs would be a conversation starter as was the case when they met a young brother/sister duo traveling together. Caputo observed that, "they were a delightful pair, students on a cross country adventure, separate ...more
Sort of painful. There was no part of this that got me. I'm sure he's a fine author, but all of this sounded like Steinbeck's "Travels with Charlie" with out the Steinbeck. A series of disconnected stories by a bored observer. Less like his exciting later-in-life-adventure, and more like an idyll writer looking for anything to fill those empty days and empty pages.

Sorta hated it.
Scott Kauffman
Enjoyable and eye opening. Caputo asks the question along the way of what is it that binds America together. The answers he receives were diverse but always fascinating. My own two cents: It is our mythology that binds us together, the stories taught to us as children that hold in them some little truth of who we promised ourselves one day we would be.
Elly Sands
We all know what it's like to savor a good meal. You eat nice and slow while thoroughly enjoying all the wonderful flavors. That's how it was for me reading this book. I did not want it to end. I wasn't ready for the trip to be over and I certainly wasn't ready to leave the author who I fell a little bit in love with. Such a terrific writer with a dry witty sense of humor. He's perhaps bit of a curmudgeon (his wife seems to balance that with her sunny personality) but a man who truly understands ...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
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
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
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
Cathy Glassford
I love a good road trip, and this was a nice long one. From Key West to the Yukon with an old Airstream, this book showed me a good look at America. I didn't like it as much as Blue Highways or Travels with Charley, but this read satisfied my wanderlust. Plus, it stirred up some old political passions that shouldn't be so old.
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
A self-fulfilling journey which did not disappoint. Caputo and his hipster wife, Leslie, forge through harsh roads and even harsher weather at times to engage people and cultures along the way from Key West to Deadhorse, Alaska. Their tenacity and adventurous spirits shined throughout the story. The plight of various cultures in America are delved into in restrained form. The exhaustion the couple felt at the end of the trip is palpable and they couldn't wait to return home to their own beds. Th ...more
This was quite an adventurous road trip with many tidbits about out of the way places in the USA, including Alaska of course. The author has a nice way of being easy going about really serious and harrowing experiences. I learned a bit of history and was introduced to many interesting characters. I only wish there would have been more photos.
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
I think one of my colleagues at the library recommended this book. I'm trying to expand my reading horizons a little bit, especially into non-fiction and this seemed to fit the bill.
Author Phil Caputo, pondering the question of the unity of US citizens in such a large and varied country, sets out to meet Americans from the southernmost point in Key West to the northernmost point on Alaska's arctic coast. Caputo has a handful of fiction books to his name, and according to his back-flap bio is an
Many people dream of taking a road trip across the United States. If you're a writer, it makes sense to turn such a journey into a book. Or maybe not. "The Longest Road", has all of the interest of a trip on an interstate highway.

Yes, Caputo and his wife and two dogs, traveling in a vintage Airstream, do avoid the interstates. They seek out the local good eats, the local colorful characters, and the quirky or bypassed towns. In a time of economic hardship (about which Caputo writes with great sy
The very concept of roadtrips are as American as apple pie, and the American road trip travelogue shows no signs of going out of style. This book is very much in the standard vein, an exploration of the American highways and by-ways, its people and towns, quirks and landmarks, a journey from Key West at the southernmost tip of the United States, all the way to Deadhorse in Alaska. Where it differs is that it does include a sizeable chunk of Canadian road trip, whilst on the way to Alaska. Imposs ...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.”
“Key West has become an imitation of its former self,” 0 likes
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