For the “Road Lit” Chapters…

…or perhaps for the syllabus for the online course to put out there after the dust settles from this 2016 election-campaign adventure/catalyst expereiment.

This one is a no brainer… this link takes you to full access to the original journals of what had to be one of the most amazing road-trail- and river trips of all time.

“The Frontier in American History” by Frederick Jackson Turner (1893)

  • Federal Writers’ Project, “Idaho: A Guide in Word and Pictures” (1937). “Idaho” was the first in the popular American Guide Series of the Federal Writers’ Project, which ended in 1943. The project employed more than 6,000 writers and was one of the many programs of the Works Progress Administration, a Depression-era federal government employment program. These travel guides cover the lower 48 states plus the Alaska Territory, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Each volume details a state’s history, geography and culture and includes photographs, maps and drawings.

Other books or resources for the course:

Roughing It by Mark Twain
Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck
The Journey Home by :”Cactus” Ed Abbey
Down the River by Edward Abbey
Blue Highways and Riverhorse by William Least Heat Moon

Some good possibilities are mentioned in this:

On the Road by Jack Kerouac, 1957
When this semi-autobiographical work was published, the New York Times hailed it as the “most important utterance” by anyone from the Beat Generation. Though he changed the names, the characters in the novel have real life counterparts. Salvatore “Sal” Paradise (Kerouac) from New York City meets Dean Moriarty (fellow beatnik Neal Cassady) on a cross-country journey fueled by drugs, sex and poetry The novel’s protagonists crisscross the United States and venture into Mexico on three separate trips that reveal much about the character of the epic hero, Moriarty, and the narrator.

Mississippi Solo by Eddy L. Harris, 1988

Harris was 30 years old when he wrote his memoir of a journey down the length of the Mississippi River, from Minnesota to New Orleans, in a canoe. His discussion of racial issues, a focus of the book, is shaped by his experience of moving from Harlem to suburban St. Louis 20 years earlier. Along the way Harris meets a spectrum of people, forcing him to reassess his preconceived ideas about whom he would encounter on the trip.

The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson, 1989
Prolific travel writer Bill Bryson returns to the United States after two decades in England to search for the perfect American small town. But Bryson finds an America unlike the place he idealizes. In a Chevy Chevette he borrows from his mother, Bryson drives through 38 states eschewing the big city and luxury hotels befitting this famed journalist.

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe, 1968
Young writer Ken Kesey led a group of LSD-using hippies called the Merry Pranksters around the country in a painted bus in the 1960s. Wolfe combines original reporting with creative writing techniques to both cover the reality of the journey and the hallucinogenic experiences of the characters. The cast reads like a who’s who of counter-culture: Bob Dylan, Neal Cassady, Hunter S. Thompson, Doctor Strange and Jerry Garcia. The book remains one of the most intimate and well-respected testaments to hippie subculture.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream by Hunter S. Thompson, 1971
What many consider the quintessential drug-induced book of the 1970s was an amalgam of two magazine assignments, one from Rolling Stone and the other from Sports Illustrated. Reporting on the Los Angeles murder of journalist Ruben Salazar, Thompson decided that the best way to mine good material out of his source, political activist Oscar Zeta Acosta, was to take to the open road and drive to Las Vegas. But when they got there, their intentions turned to drugs, alcohol and gambling. Ever the enterprising reporter, Thompson also took a respite from his highs to take on a caption-writing assignment to cover an off-road desert race for Sports Illustrated. Although the loose narrative blurs the line between reality and what the characters are merely imagining, a sharp critique of American culture permeates the pages.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig, 1974
A deep, philosophical book that masquerades as a simple story of a father-and-son motorcycle trip, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is Pirsig’s first foray into philosophy writing. Their motorcycle trip from Minneapolis to San Francisco is also a trip through Eastern and Western philosophical traditions. His friend, a romantic, lives by the principle of Zen and relies on mechanics to fix his motorcycle. Pirisg, on the other hand, leaves nothing up to chance and knows the ins and outs of maintaining his bike.

A straight up piece for the class:

7. Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove(1985)

A love-story, an epic, a horse-rustling adventure; McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove follows a crew of cattle-herding Rangers all the way from Texas to Montana. Talk about your settlers and Indians, your whores and outlaws; this book – and its horde of sequels and adaptations – is about as Western as they come.

9. Annie Proulx’s Close Range (1999)

Now, it’s not strictly a novel, but we’ll level our flintlocks at those who contest its place on our list. Included in this ferociously funny and bleak set of tales is Brokeback Mountain, a story that all you movie buffs will already know. With a savage ear for dialogue and a killer sense of humour, Proulx serves up ranchers and cowpokes and steers. Oh my! You’ll never look at Wyoming the same way again.

The above two were from

Posted in Z “A Working Class Hero of the of Counterculture Is Something to Be”

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