Synopses & Reviews
The definitive book on the most famous road in American history-- now published in paperback to celebrate the highway's 66th anniversary.
It began in the early 1920s with a vision of a paved highway that would connect Chicago to Los Angeles and the West. By the time of its completion, the road would cover over 2,400 miles, three time zones, and eight states. It would link the windy shores of Lake Michigan with the waters of the Pacific Ocean-- a two-lane road rolling together through the great American Southwest, tying together the vestiges of America's pioneer passages into one meandering and magnificent highway.
Route 66. It was the road of dreamers and ramblers, drifters and writers: the road of John Steinbeck, Woody Guthrie, and Jack Kerouac. A ribbon of American highway that transported the Okies, driven from their land as storms of dust swept across their farms, to the promise of California. It was also the highway of commerce-- of automated ice-cream stands and old "no-tell" motels, salty truck stops, and a neon allure. Phillips 66, Coca-Cola, Burma Shave. It was Bobby Troup's "Get Your Kicks on Route 66." It was the lights and the breeze and the radio and the litany of towns: Joplin, Flagstaff, San Bernardino. A smilin', "Hi-how're-y'all-doin-t'night" big-boned waitress and a steamin' cup of coffee. Route 66, the passage west, the road of flight, the Mother Road.
After seventeen years of research, Michael Wallis has compiled the definitive book on the most legendary road in American history. Wallis weaves together a rich tapestry of eight decades that chronicles the road from its founding to its demise with the advent of the interstate system, and to its current unprecedented revival. Route 66 is also a pictorial journey of nearly three hundred images that detail the highway's history, roadside diners, motels, forgotten towns, and most impressively, its people.
Two years after its nostalgia-inspiring hardcover publication, Michael Wallis's bestselling Route 66 finally appears here in its first paperback edition. It is a book, unlike any in recent social history, that has spawned a national movement, brought new hope to those pockets of the American prairies where hope had long since vanished, and revived a dying American road.
"Like others before him, from John Steinbeck to Charles Kuralt, Michael Wallis went on the road in search of America. The result is...a colorful paean to a most romantic highway."--The New York Times
"Since the do-gooders abolished public hangings, the only show in town worth watching is the traffic on Highway 66 heading West and Route 66: The Mother Road is the best book we have to tell us what we are seeing."--Stanley Marsh III, Owner, Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas
"This story of our nation's most famous highway keeps alive an important part of American history. It's a delight."--Ted Drewes, Owner, Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, St. Louis, Missouri
"Route 66 changed the course of my whole life. I will treasure my trip forever, and this book recaptures very vividly every memory."--Bobby Troup, Songwriter, "Get Your Kicks on Route 66"
"The tone of Route 66: The Mother Road is as friendly as that of a big diner, where the conversations of people who have just met drift through the air like the steam from their coffee cups."--Phil Patton, author, Open Road
"Any of you who love nostalgia will love Route 66: The Mother Road as much as I do."--Tony Hillerman
"A love letter to the road...He wraps the history of the route around pictures of it and lets the people who have traveled and lived along the Mother Road tell their stories."--Kelli Pryor, Entertainment Weekly
The definitive book on the most famous road in American history. Wallis chronicles the road from its beginning to its demise, describing 80 years of social history.
About the Author
is the widely acclaimed author of Pretty Boy
and the best-selling book Oil Man
. He is currently collaborating with Chief Wilma Mankiller on a book about her life and the story of the Cherokee people. Born in the 66-town of St. Louis, Wallis now lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a short distance from the Mother Road.