By Bill Steigerwald
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Bill Steigerwald had a super plan for displaying how a lot the United States has replaced within the final part century -- or so he suggestion. He’d easily retrace the 10,000-mile direction John Steinbeck took round the united states in 1960 for his liked bestseller Travels With Charley.
Then he’d evaluate the the US he observed with the rustic Steinbeck defined in his vintage highway booklet. but if the intrepid ex-newspaperman from Pittsburgh begun studying Steinbeck’s journey he exposed a surprising literary scoop. Steinbeck’s iconic nonfiction ebook used to be a fraud. Travels With Charley was once not only choked with fiction. It was once a misleading and cheating account of the nice novelist’s real street journey. Steigerwald made his personal street journey precisely 50 years after Steinbeck did. Chasing and fact-checking Steinbeck’s ghost for 11,276 miles and forty three days, assembly 1000s of normal american citizens, usually slumbering behind his vehicle in Wal-Mart parking plenty, he drove from Maine to California to Texas.
Despite the nice Recession and nationwide headlines dripping with gloom and doom, Steigerwald found an the USA alongside the Steinbeck street that was once immense, empty, wealthy, secure, fresh, wealthy and pleasant. He didn’t simply reaffirm his religion in the United States to resist the lengthy educate of abuse from Washington and Wall road, in spite of the fact that. He additionally uncovered the half-century-old myths of Travels With Charley, ruffled the PhDs of the country’s most sensible Steinbeck students and compelled “Charley’s” writer to eventually inform the reality. Steigerwald is a well-traveled journalist and veteran libertarian columnist.
With the spirit of a teenage driving force, a dogged pursuit of the evidence and a fresh standpoint approximately the US proudly positioned within the center of Flyover state no longer new york, he spins the tale of his journey with Steinbeck’s ghost right into a provocative, news-making and wonderful American street ebook.
Read Online or Download Dogging Steinbeck: How I went in search of John Steinbeck's America, found my own America, and exposed the truth about 'Travels With Charley' PDF
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Extra resources for Dogging Steinbeck: How I went in search of John Steinbeck's America, found my own America, and exposed the truth about 'Travels With Charley'
29, 1960 – To the pinnacle of Maine From anywhere he stopped Wednesday evening in northeast Maine after leaving Deer Isle, Steinbeck drives north into Aroostook County on U. S. 1 alongside the U. S. -Canadian border. He reaches the head of Maine, turns south on kingdom direction eleven and plunges deep into the pine desolate tract of Maine’s inside. He parks on my own for the evening someplace less than a concrete bridge within the rain. truth Fudging one zero one Aroostook County is known for 2 issues – potatoes and its huge, immense dimension. It’s one 5th of Maine and larger than Connecticut and Rhode Island mixed. not anyone touring north from Calais alongside the beautiful St. Croix River could problem these evidence. i used to be 929 miles from Steinbeck’s Sag Harbor driveway. Steinbeck drove an identical stretch of U. S. path 1 on Sept. 29, 1960, precisely 50 years prior to me. He had a peculiar factor approximately eager to contact the head of Maine ahead of heading west, a peculiar factor he finally regretted as he discovered how never-ending and empty the kingdom was once. Steinbeck additionally desired to see the famed potato fields of Aroostook County, then the most important spud-producing quarter of the rustic. In 1960 households of Canucks have been nonetheless crossing the border from Canada in huge numbers to choose potatoes within the fall. Machines do many of the opting for now, and, as with such a lot backbreaking farm paintings people as soon as needed to do, muscle and sweat were changed via brainpower and machines and know-how. Aroostook’s potatoes are nonetheless grown on approximately four hundred farms and hire approximately 6,000 humans in quite a few methods. however the crop isn’t what it was. among 1928 and 1958, the county by myself produced extra potatoes than the other nation. but if French fries turned a tremendous meals team in the United States, Maine misplaced the nationwide potato race to the Russet Burbanks of Idaho and the kingdom is now in approximately 7th position. Steinbeck famous in “Charley” that Maine’s moderately populated land already used to be being “abandoned to the creeping woodland. ” when you consider that 1960 Aroostook County has taken an enormous inhabitants hit, shedding from 106,000 to 72,000. to offer an idea how giant and empty Aroostook County is, its inhabitants density is eleven humans in keeping with sq. mile, concerning the similar because the Dakotas and a hundred instances much less dense than New Jersey, the main people-packed country. although Aroostook is among the so much conservative counties in Maine, it too went for Obama in 2008. extra interesting to my radical political style, the county retains toying with the s-word – secession. situated on the very best of the nation, faraway from the remainder of what we all know as Maine, Aroostookians think a better kinship to Canada. With a 5th of its inhabitants talking French at domestic, a few of its politicians were offering that the county subscribe to with New Brunswick or turn into the 51st country. the one dumb a part of their commendable yet hopeless plan is they may possibly name their new land Aroostook, that's unpronounceable to a person no longer born north of Bangor. Maine’s measurement and desolation beat Steinbeck down. As he realized speedy, to his dismay, Maine’s roads have been lengthy, lonely and tough.