Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 47.
- Review Date: 2007-05-14
- Reviewer: Staff
One look at the retro artwork on the cover of this travel tome will tell you what's in store for you—a visit down memory lane the length of the U.S. Following the 3,000-mile Lincoln Highway—much of it has been replaced or renamed—from New York City's Times Square to San Francisco Bay, Wallis (Route 66: The Mother Road) expertly captures the oft-forgotten and offbeat sights and tales of an America bypassed by superhighways. Most every town, restaurant, mom-and-pop store the author encounters along “The Main Street Across America” has seen better days, but Wallis still takes the time to celebrate their classic architecture and down-home recipes. With an eye for details and a gift for storytelling, he moves just as smoothly between the role of tour guide and yarn spinner as he does between the road's history and its current incarnation. The juxtaposition between old and new is further underlined by the presentation of classic images and new photographs by Williamson. With a chapter dedicated to each of the 13 states that the highway passes through, this book will delight those looking to uncover their local roots as well as adventurers yearning for that American rite of passage—a cross-country road trip. (July)
From the Big Apple to the Bay
Wouldn't it be great to get into your 1966 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser station wagon, load up the tank with 18¢-per-gallon gas from your local Cities Service, Richfield, Enco, Flying A or Humble station, and drive from coast to coast on one of America's most scenic and history-laden highways? Well, Michael Wallis (author of the classic Route 66) and Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Michael S. Williamson have conspired to allow us to return to yesteryear and motor along The Lincoln Highway.
The Lincoln Highway was America's first transcontinental highway, conceived in 1912 and completed in time for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. Indianapolis Motor Speedway founder Carl Fisher was the chief architect, proponent and fundraiser for the project, though he was later joined by Packard Motor Car Company president Henry Joy. Early on, the authors make it clear that this is a road for travelers, not tourists, so if you are comforted by the modernity of the Interstate roadbed and the endless parade of Wendy McStuckey's Taco King food courts and Quality Comfort Motel 8 Inns, the Lincoln Highway is not your preferred route. If, however, you hanker to start the morning with a frosty mug of Minute Man Root Beer and then wander through the Studebaker National Museum and Archives in nearby South Bend, Indiana, this is an outstanding summer vacation guide for you and your family.
Jam-packed with gorgeous photos and illustrations from along the route, The Lincoln Highway will no doubt confer the sort of cachet to this (inter-)stately thoroughfare that Route 66 has for so long enjoyed. If only Nat King Cole were around to sing "Spend your day/On the Lincoln Highway."