|About the Book|
Get up and see the world! This lying abed is the mother of seventy devils. -Rudyard Kipling, Kim From his home just outside Geneva, Switzerland, American writer Matthew Stevenson (Letters of Transit, An April Across America) sets out in OctoberMore Get up and see the world! This lying abed is the mother of seventy devils. -Rudyard Kipling, Kim From his home just outside Geneva, Switzerland, American writer Matthew Stevenson (Letters of Transit, An April Across America) sets out in October 2006 on a private railroad car for Chicago and Rapid City, in effect heading North by Northwest as in the Hitchcock film. Its a journey across the United States that takes him through the Bad Lands of South Dakota, across Texas, into post-Katrina New Orleans, up to the Virginia home of Thomas Jefferson, and finally to his roots in New York City.He describes not just his travels, but the personalities he meets along the road. In South Dakota, he writes about a weekend in the presence of former President, Bill Clinton and Senator George McGovern. In Texas, he has dinner with the columnist and humorist, Molly Ivins. In New York City, completing what he calls a tour of “blue state America,” he attends a dinner given by The Nation magazine (“Only in America are the actors politicians and the politicians actors”).Of the former president, he writes: “Clinton slouched in his chair with the vacant look of someone watching television in a fraternity house.” In New Orleans he tracks down the homes of Louis Armstrong and Lee Harvey Oswald (“second-lining”). He spends a day with a Texas cattle rancher, to learn more about dust bowls. In New York, he writes about economic stimulus in Harlem, the Bronx and Bushwick.At each stop, he includes not just his impressions, but recalls books and movies that illuminate his travels. He layouts a rich tapestry of America history, describing, en route, the foibles of the Founding Fathers at Mount Rushmore, his affection for Thomas Jefferson, and how Theodore Roosevelt lost a lot of money dude ranching (“brokeback accounting”).As a traveling companion, Matthew Stevenson is engaged, wry, humorous, and endlessly curious. This isn’t a trip that you want to miss.Scroll up and get your copy.