Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Divided Highways: Building the Interstate Highways, Transforming American Life” as Want to Read:
Divided Highways: Building the Interstate Highways, Transforming American Life
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Divided Highways: Building the Interstate Highways, Transforming American Life

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  90 ratings  ·  14 reviews
In "Divided Highways," Tom Lewis tells the monumental story of the largest engineered structure ever built: the Interstate Highway System. Here is one of the great untold tales of American enterprise, recounted entirely through the stories of the human beings who thought up, mapped out, poured, paved - and tried to stop - the Interstates. Conceived and spearheaded by Thoma ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 1st 1999 by Penguin Books (first published 1997)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Divided Highways, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Divided Highways

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 299)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Converse

The subject of Divided Highways is broader than the subtitle implies, as it also sses federal aid for road building before Eisenhower's initiation of the interstate highway program. Tom Lewis is also the author of Empire of the Air: the men who made radio a book I enjoyed more than the present one. After a long period in the nineteenth century in which the federal government did nothing to fund road construction, federal support for road construction was discussed from the late nineteenth centu

...more
Ian
"But engineers had little understanding of, nor did they care about, socioeconomic and environmental considerations that should also be factors in the decision of where to place a highway. The Interstates planned for the center of Boston, across Manhattan, into the center of Chicago posed a series of technical problems of soils and land contours, entrances and exits, and the like; but never the very real human problems of lives disrupted, neighborhoods destroyed, and livelihoods lost" (pg. #134) ...more
Cat
Aug 26, 2007 Cat rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: infrastructure nerds.
Shelves: americanhistory
Too bad I only read one book every couple of weeks. Lewis's "Divided History" is somewhere in between a conventional history of the building of the interstate highway's in the United States and a journalistic account of the builiding of the interstate highway's in the United States. Either way you want to slice it- that's nearly three hundred pages on the building of interstate highway's in the United States. It's a boring book- not just because the subject matter itself, but also because Mr. Le ...more
Mickael Broth
Pretty fascinating look into something used by almost every single American on a daily basis but taken completely for granted at this point. Somehow the author managed to make fairly boring parts of history into a really enjoyable and lively read.. quite a feat indeed!
Phil
If you are into bridges, roads, tunnels, transportation, engineering and/or politics mixed with a bit of history, this book is for you. Very interesting.

It is however very wordy. Informative but dry.
Alex Eddy
A lovely, if slightly depressing , history of ground transportation in the US. It starts with Eisenhower and meanders through history from there. Lewis even touches on racial politics and the power of grassroots movements. Overall, it was a satisfying read.
Rebecca Henderson
Good, detailed overview of the building of the Interstate system. I was disappointed that no mention was made of the building of I-20, since that's the Interstate I'm particularly interested in for the book I'm writing - but the points the author loses for overlooking I-20 are gained back by quoting poetry throughout.
Barbara Brannon
Lewis's study is one of the most thorough and thought-provoking of the many treatments of American "road history" -- it brings to light the very real sociological effects of roads on our cities, towns, and countryside. If you enjoy road memoirs/travelogues, read this for excellent context.
Catherine
I was interested mostly in the sociological aspects of building the interstate highway system -- the politics, decision-making process, and how it affected society. There was enough of that to keep me interested, but also plenty of info about the construction.
Peter Boody
A little dreary here and there. It seemed repetitive. A lot of focus on bureaucrats and plodding processes. Still, it is a subject about which I've always been interested and the book delivered the goods.
Howard Mansfield
In this detailed history of the building of the Interstates, Lewis shows that he's a good storyteller with a good eye for politics and a revealing quote.
Elly
Sep 06, 2008 Elly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who ask "why you so crazy about bicycles?"
Big, cheesy pop history that tells you everything you ever wanted to know about the interstate highway system, which in my case is a lot.
Ben
Really interesting history of the Interstate Highway System. Features prehistory, obstacles, effects on culture, urban elements.
Michael
A decent history of the development of the US Interstate system. Not as critical as one might expect.
Coleman
Coleman marked it as to-read
Aug 26, 2015
Alex
Alex marked it as to-read
Aug 24, 2015
David Lade
David Lade marked it as to-read
Aug 08, 2015
Jenn M
Jenn M marked it as to-read
Jul 31, 2015
Lyn Paton
Lyn Paton marked it as to-read
Jul 23, 2015
Kyle VanHemert
Kyle VanHemert marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2015
Sarah Gray
Sarah Gray marked it as to-read
Jul 18, 2015
Joanna Gibilaro
Joanna Gibilaro marked it as to-read
Jul 18, 2015
D
D marked it as to-read
Jun 28, 2015
Tina Denson
Tina Denson marked it as to-read
Jun 20, 2015
Brian
Brian marked it as to-read
Jun 18, 2015
Casey Mckarren
Casey Mckarren marked it as to-read
Jun 03, 2015
Tettyk
Tettyk marked it as to-read
Apr 29, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Infrastructure: A Field Guide to the Industrial Landscape
  • The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways
  • Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City
  • On the Grid: A Plot of Land, an Average Neighborhood, and the Systems That Make Our World Work
  • The Works: Anatomy of a City
  • Colossus: Hoover Dam and the Making of the American Century
  • The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory (Haymarket)
  • The Routes of Man: How Roads Are Changing the World and the Way We Live Today
  • Content
  • Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo
  • Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, and What We Can Do About It
  • Flushed: How the Plumber Saved Civilization
  • Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency from the Cold War Through the Dawn of a New Century
  • Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization
  • Blood, Iron And Gold: How The Railways Transformed The World
  • Waiting on a Train: The Embattled Future of Passenger Rail Service--A Year Spent Riding across America
  • Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies
  • Makeshift Metropolis: Ideas About Cities
Sunday's Child My King The President Hitler's Judas: Book Ii Of The Pea Island Gold Trilogy The Hudson: A History Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio

Share This Book

“About thirty truckers in Brighton, Colorado, refused to move their rigs in protest of the high cost of diesel fuel, fuel shortages, and the fifty-five-mile-per-hour speed limit. Other drivers followed suit in Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Nebraska, Connecticut, and Delaware. In New Jersey, the governor had to call on the National Guard to remove blockading trucks. The truckers complained that higher fuel prices and lower speed limits were threatening their profits.” 0 likes
“In 1936, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed the Third World Power Conference in Washington, D.C., on the importance of engineering in solving the nation’s social problems. At the conclusion of his speech, he pressed a button that stirred the turbines in the Boulder Dam to “creative activity.” “Boulder Dam,” said the president as his right index finger came down, “I call you to life!” 0 likes
More quotes…