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The Long Haul: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  4,234 ratings  ·  772 reviews
More than thirty years ago, Finn Murphy dropped out of college to become a long-haul trucker. Since then he’s covered more than a million miles packing, loading, and hauling people’s belongings all over America. Known by his trucker handle as U-Turn, he spends his days (and many of his nights) in a 53-foot eighteen-wheeler he calls Cassidy.

In The Long Haul, Murphy offers a
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published June 6th 2017 by W. W. Norton Company
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Rachel Hopkins Definitely! I purchased it for our high school. It is a fascinating read and the author shares so much about our transportation system and its subcult…moreDefinitely! I purchased it for our high school. It is a fascinating read and the author shares so much about our transportation system and its subculture. Yes, there is some language and one chapter with adult relations...but I think this is a great example of how smart, intelligent people can still find satisfaction in a career that doesn't require higher education. (less)

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Petra X $200 for an exhaust leak! Daylight robbery
The last chapter in the book is brilliant but unusual because the author says he was asked not to say anything about what went on, so he isn't going to, and he doesn't! And it is still the best chapter, genius writing!

I loved the book. Yesterday driving up the interstate I was looking at all the trucks, tractors and trailers and seeing the furniture movers and thinking to myself, 'bedbuggers. Bottom of the truckers' hierarchy but top of the high rollers for money." I don't know if Finn Murphy wo
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Long Haul: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road by Finn Murphy is a 2017 W.W. Norton Company publication.

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from this book when I started reading it, but it sounded like it might be pretty interesting. I’m sure truckers see all manner of interesting things, meet a variety of different people, and have probably had their fair share of odd encounters out on the road.

So, I settled in, ready to hear some interesting tales, perhaps a few suspenseful moments of
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Really interesting book about long haul trucking. I wanted more narrative cohesion. This is more a series of vignettes than a unified narrative. But the writer is fascinating and there is so much information here about how moving works. Also some unexpected insights on race and class. The book is worth reading for that and also just the love this guy has for his work.
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating read about long haul trucking and the moving industry. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I learned a lot about both industries and definitely have more respect for truckers and movers. Even if he didn't know it in the beginning, Murphy was made for this job. He has the disposition, discipline, and intellect needed to be successful in the business. Murphy is straightforward and personable; his memoir is one that the average American can relate to in many ways. ...more
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this genre, what I personally call regular-person memoir. There is such a wonderful informal writing style, it's just some dude telling me about his life. And his life is freaking fascinating. ...more
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I probably would never have picked this up if it hadn’t been a book club reading selection but to my surprise it was a fun read. Finn Murphy is a long distance mover who has seen and heard it all. Atypical of truckers, he is white, educated and from a middle class background. Murphy cherishes his personal autonomy on the open road, where each job brings its own set of challenges and characters.
Nancy Regan
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Finn Murphy is an endearing story teller who let me know what a Jake brake is (page xii) without my even asking. (This is something I've wanted to know every time I've driven past a sign prohibiting them, even after I figured out I probably don't have any). I learned lots more reading this intelligent memoir: the theory of tier-building to organize the contents of a bedbuggers' trailer and where to store my dainties before calling in the movers. Write lots more, Mr. Murphy! ...more
Jessica Pies
Sep 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lynne Spreen
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a good book. It's the memoir of an autodidactic gentleman trucker. I'd rank it right up with Hillbilly Elegy by J.D.Vance. A thoughtful view of America from ten feet up in a Freightliner, hauling furniture cross-country. The writing is excellent and the narrator impressive and relatable. Here's a sample:

"A Jake brake...sounds like a machine gun beneath my feet as it works to keep 70,000 pounds of steel and rubber under control."

Also, this: "I was running north in a convoy with nine other tr
Peter Tillman
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bios-memoirs
I know of no other memoir of a long-haul mover's life. So we're fortunate that Finn Murphy has written a good one. Early on, he gives a nod to John McPhee, and I'm guessing he once wrote McPhee offering his life story. In his current "Draft No. 4", McPhee mentions that he gets a lot of these, but has taken up only maybe half-a-dozen in his career. He'd already done a trucker....

The big attraction for top-rank long-haul movers is the money: $250,000 in a good year, per Finn. He has a white-collar
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Non-fiction book about long haul moving, explaining to the layperson all the interesting, mundane, and arcane details of a trucker's life.

It varied from interesting, thought-provoking, way too detailed (I don't need to know pages of minutiae about weight, volume, percentages of payments, etc.), and mostly irritating in the way of a long, endless vent session. This guy really likes to complain about humanity. Which, I could not agree more, but it has to be more than just an endless string of bitc
Dorothy Hodder
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love learning how other people live and how the heavy work of the world gets done. This likable, thoughtful, observant professional mover says most people would be better off to put more importance on the people in their lives and less on their stuff. His stories are informative and reassuring for anyone hiring movers, and motivational to anyone who wants to let go of stuff.
This review is based on a free review copy sent to my library by the publisher.
Donald Powell
I cannot explain why I read this book. It is the memoir of a moving van driver. It did hold my interest as well written and so entirely unique. He has some chips on his shoulder. The people he move can often be difficult. What he fails to realize is those people are difficult with everyone with whom they come into contact, their doctors, lawyers, hairdressers, grocery store clerks . . . We all have difficult people on whom we depend for our livlihoods. Being a bedbug (his name for movers) sounds ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook, non-fiction, travel
I like to read about different career paths that people have chosen and I like to read about people that like to read. Finn Murphy covers both.

My helpers are almost all Hispanic, and I don’t see any profound cultural chasm between an immigrant from Mexico and a middle-class white American. Your standard-issue Mexican or Brazilian is a hardworking Christian who shares a Western historical experience, speaks a Romance language, uses the same alphabet and numbering system, and has similar aspirati
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, audio-2017
A "normal person memoir" and an interesting view into the trucking world. I thoroughly enjoyed the visit in Finn's life and learned a lot about about movers and their daily life. He is an amazing story teller and not once did I find myself bored or overwhelmed with technical information but I did learn a lot and realized that my idea of trucking and reality are not exactly the same (of course).
A collection of some of his adventures on the road and the people he moved.
Katie B
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Finn Murphy's parents were not to pleased when he dropped out of college and became a truck driver. Thirty years later he is still packing, loading, and moving other people's prized possessions all over the country and he wouldn't have it any other way. In this memoir, he shares stories about the people who trust him to move their stuff in one piece, his fellow movers, and the truck drivers he has met along the way.

I honestly had low expectations for this book because trucking is not something I
Dick Reynolds
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book was an unexpected pleasure.
Author Finn Murphy dropped out of college after three years and chose to become a long haul truck driver for a company that moves family possessions from one city to another. In the industry these kind of movers are called bedbuggers and their trucks are called roach coaches. Car haulers are nicknamed parking lot attendants and hazmat truckers are dubbed suicide jockeys.
Murphy tells many fascinating stories about shippers, the folks who own the fu
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a well written, literate and interesting book. It had particular value to me since i was once a long-haul mover for NorthAmerican Van Lines, like Murphy, many decades ago. So to be reminded of all the ARDUOUS work I did as a young, small-boned woman - all the complicated physical, emotional, technical and business details that come with it, not to even mention what it takes to drive a big rig all over the US under all sorts of circumstances and in all kinds of weather and the inherent d ...more
Kasa Cotugno
When I moved from Connecticut to California in the late 1980's, I was astounded by what it took for the trucker to pack my entire house into his van. And there already was one house, including a car, packed inside. As Finn Murphy puts it, that's the skill of the mover - to create a cube out of layers of belongings, and then dealing with the quirks of the "shippers" who sometimes haven't washed the morning coffee cups or emptied the diaper pail. Murphy is not a professional writer, but he does a ...more
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I won this book on Goodreads. An interesting look into the life of a trucker. I am glad that I read this book as I once was interested in becoming a trucker myself and was always curious about the life they lead and the things they do. This book is a fascinating glimpse into the very hard and under-appreciated life of a trucker. There are some very memorable stories written in this book.
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cultural-social
Finn Murphy breaks the rules. He's not supposed to be an articulate, intentional, and accomplished storyteller; he's supposed to fit nicely in a box constructed by our society that demands he acts a certain way, communicates a certain way, and behaves a certain way. I loved this book! (Plus, I have a newfound respect for all Drivers.) ...more
Gayle Hart
Jul 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
Disclosure — I received this book as an ARC. I don't rightly remember how I came by it, but I probably signed up for it, or entered a drawing, or something. At any rate, I have it.

Growing up in a trucking family (we have a dozen or so truckers in the family including loggers, freighters, and chippers; drivers of skateboards, dump trucks, vans, and refers; cab-overs and conventionals; cummins, corn binders, Volvos, and Detroits; owner-operators, drivers who lease on with companies, and drivers wh
Mary Keen
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-overdrive
Very enjoyable book with a good narrator --not sure if by the author or not. I also checked out the book, but disappointed the only photo was one of the author on the dust jacket.

Had a few dull sections, imo, espec near the beginning, but the rest more than makes up for that.

I heard an interview on NPR and would like to hear or read more interviews. Note --searched for and read 2 more interviews (by "Jack Roberts, HDT"and "Summer/Fall 2017 Indies Introduce", with many related details, photos. A
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this insight into a truckers world and the moving world in general. Some good tips inside as well. I would have like more personal info in this memoir-like what impact did all the driving have on his ability to have relationships, what did he do when he wasn't driving (he took a hiatus),etc. but really that info was not essential in appreciating the various encounters he described. ...more
Wendy Paulas
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
For someone who's driven through 42 states in the continental US, this book was an absolute delight! The author lives in Boulder so loved all the Colorado references. +1 star for the Conifer shoutout!!

Finn, will you come do a book talk at the Denver Public Library???
Gina Beirne
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, read2017
This book was completely fascinating to me. I love learning about unusual jobs like that of long haul trucker. And now I know why it has taken so long to have my parents' belongings and those of their friend moved from New York to Florida. Would love to meet the hauler who delivers it! ...more
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Murphy is a great storyteller. A moving book in more than one sense. I hope he has a sequel in him.

I've listened to a lot of audiobooks while driving over the years, and this one is nearly perfect for that purpose.
Cheri Rice
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Just wish he had hauled a little humble pie.
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
The beginning of the book was strong but faded.
Scottsdale Public Library
Life is what you make it whether you sit behind a desk, out in the fields, or behind the wheel of an 18 wheeler. Long haul driver Finn Murphy lets us ride shotgun as he traverses the continent packing up peoples' lives and on the flip side unpacking hopes, fresh starts, and sometimes broken dreams. Mr. Murphy shares insights into his life on the road doing what he loves, trucking culture, society, and the changing landscape of American attitudes and values one move at a time. For readers of Hill ...more
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Finn Murphy grew up in Connecticut and now lives in Colorado. He started working as a long-haul trucker in 1980. The Long Haul is his first book.

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“Books are completely disappearing. Remember in Fahrenheit 451 where the fireman's wife was addicted to interactive television and they sent fireman crews out to burn books? That mission has been largely accomplished in middle-class America and they didn't need the firemen. The interactive electronics took care of it without the violence,” 21 likes
“It’s too late now. The game’s been won by companies who don’t two shits about community character or decent jobs. Congratufuckinglations, America! We did the deal. Now we’ve got an unlimited supply of cheap commodities and unhealthy food and crumbling downtowns, no sense of place, and a permanent under class. Yay. The underclass isn’t relegated to urban ghettos either. It’s coast to coast and especially in between. Take US 50 west from Kansas City to Sacramento or US 6 from Chicago to California and you’ll see a couple thousand miles of corn, soybeans, and terminally ill towns. It looks like a scene from The Walking Dead. If there’s such a thing as the American Heartland, it has a stake through it.” 6 likes
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