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Red Highways: A Liberal's Journey Into the Heartland

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Tired of speaking to like-minded people, San Francisco blogger and radio journalist Rose Aguilar quit her job, bought a Toyota van, picked up her boyfriend, and took off on a six-month road trip through southern and mountain states. There she interviewed a wide array of people who rarely, if ever, appear in the national media. They include a former Republican evangelical ...more
Paperback, 229 pages
Published October 21st 2008 by Polipoint Press
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Apr 14, 2009 Misha rated it it was ok
I'll confess I only read half of this, partly because of time constraints. It was a book club selection and I only had time to read half of my borrowed copy before the club met. But I honestly wasn't that impressed. The concept has a lot of promise if it had been handled by someone more politically mature than Aguilar, but she couldn't seem to see past her own ideology. Sure, she reported what people who disagreed with her said, but I didn't see any real effort to understand their points of view ...more
Dec 02, 2008 Ingrid rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone who likes to think and be challenged.
I listened to Rose speak at Wordstock, a book convention in Portland at the beginning of November. I was impressed with her passion and decided to buy her book and get it signed. That turned out to be $16 and 15 minutes well spent.

It took me a little while to get into Red Highways, but about a third of the way through I was hooked. Rose's personal transformation became evident in her writing. It seemed that she really began to listen — and I mean really listen, not just hear — what people were s
Alex Templeton
Jun 11, 2009 Alex Templeton rated it really liked it
I am glad that someone finally engaged in a project like this, and published the results. Essentially, Aguilar traveled to five different red states, interviewed ordinary folks about their politics, and wrote up the results. What clearly becomes clear is that peoples' politics are much more nuanced than our media and our own stereotypes let on. Republicans aren't fire-breathing devils, and liberals aren't always the perfect examples of tolerance (see Aguilar's boyfriend's refusal to listen to ...more
Kim Olson
Jul 09, 2012 Kim Olson rated it liked it
This chronicle of NPR radio host Rose Aguilar's road trip through four red states sheds some light on the thinking of people in the heartland. Having realized that she lives in a political bubble in San Francisco, Aguilar journeys to Texas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Montana to chat with people about their views on social and political issues.

Along the way, she visits fire-and-brimstone churches as well as the largest gay church in the country. She goes to a gun show, visits the only abortion cl
Kelly V
Apr 09, 2009 Kelly V rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who are from Texas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, or Montana or who are just curious
This was a great book. I picked it up because it included a chapter on Oklahoma, and I was curious to see what a liberal outsider would find there. The premise of the book is that a radio host based in San Francisco is just baffled at how so many of the red states vote against their own interests again and again. So she decided to get out there and ask, by interviewing all sorts of real people. She had a very good attitude while traveling--she's not confrontational and goes to great lengths to ...more
Feb 19, 2010 Christy rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2010
An interesting ride but manages to be neither inspiring about the untapped human potential in this country nor a wake-up call to get out of our bubbles and shake things up. How exactly? The big story when Rose Aguilar did the trip was the Bush Administration betraying its base. Now the big story is the Democrats betraying theirs. That people in the red states actually recognize this, but like the rest of us, have no real answers for it, should only come as a surprise to elitist liberals.

Jul 25, 2012 Annie rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012
I wanted to like this book, I really did. I was excited about the concept but was continually disappointed while I read it. Rose (and her boyfriend Ryan) never give the reader the impression that they are truly open-minded. They would not bend from their ideology and political beliefs -- and you never got the impression that they really cared to understand the points of view of others. It felt like a voyeuristic trip on their part, not an adventure to understand.
Mar 24, 2009 Jason rated it it was amazing
A great true story about a vegan, liberal, San Francisco reporter and her equally liberal meat-eating boyfriend through America's so-called "Red States." Rose and Ryan meet fellow Americans who are supposed to be as different as can be from themselves, but find out that there's not just red and blue people in the red and blue states.
Dec 25, 2009 Meredith rated it liked it
so while at the end of a book like this, i dont feel like my political framework or overall sense of the world has shifted drastically, i still enjoyed the read. mostly, though, it makes me wonder how i can get funding to drive around the country for 6 months and talk to people...
Mar 04, 2009 Kristina rated it it was ok
I just read the intro which sounds a lot like "Nickel and Dimed." Is it worth plowing through, book club gang? Do weigh in.
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Rose Aguilar is a radio host and journalist from San Francisco. She currently hosts Your Call, a daily public affairs radio show on NPR-affiliate KALW 91.7 FM. Your Call features in-depth conversations about everything from the Iraq war and poverty to the environment and the arts. Aguilar is a contributor to the book, Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland. She also writ ...more
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