The Big Roads

Author: Earl Swift
Publisher: HMH
ISBN: 054754913X
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Discover the twists and turns of one of America’s great infrastructure projects with this “engrossing history of the creation of the U.S. interstate system” (Los Angeles Times). It’s become a part of the landscape that we take for granted, the site of rumbling eighteen-wheelers and roadside rest stops, a familiar route for commuters and vacationing families. But during the twentieth century, the interstate highway system dramatically changed the face of our nation. These interconnected roads—over 47,000 miles of them—are man-made wonders, economic pipelines, agents of sprawl, uniquely American symbols of escape and freedom, and an unrivaled public works accomplishment. Though officially named after President Dwight D. Eisenhower, this network of roadways has origins that reach all the way back to the World War I era, and The Big Roads—“the first thorough history of the expressway system” (The Washington Post)—tells the full story of how they came to be. From the speed demon who inspired a primitive web of dirt auto trails to the largely forgotten technocrats who planned the system years before Ike reached the White House to the city dwellers who resisted the concrete juggernaut when it bore down on their neighborhoods, this book reveals both the massive scale of this government engineering project, and the individual lives that have been transformed by it. A fast-paced history filled with fascinating detours, “the book is a road geek’s treasure—and everyone who travels the highways ought to know these stories” (Kirkus Reviews).

The Big Roads

Author: Earl Swift
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780547907246
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Charts the construction of the U.S. interstate system while evaluating its role in changing the country, discussing the "Good Roads" movement, the protests that ensued when highways reached cities, and how the interstate system reflects notions of citizenship.

The Big Roads The Untold Story of the Engineers Visionaries and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways

Author: Earl Swift
Publisher: Ireland Books
ISBN:
Format: PDF, ePub
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Perhaps nothing changed the face of America more than the creation of the interstate system. At once man-made wonders, economic pipelines, agents of sprawl, and uniquely American sirens of escape, the interstates snake into every aspect of modern life. The Big Roads documents their historic creation and the many people they’ve affected, from the speed demon who inspired a primitive web of dirt auto trails, to the cadre of largely forgotten technocrats who planned the system years before Ike reached the White House, to the thousands of city dwellers who resisted the concrete juggernaut when it bore down on their neighborhoods. The Big Roads tells the story of this essential feature of the landscape we have come to take for granted. With a view toward players both great and small, Swift gives readers the full story of one of America’s greatest engineering achievements. “Travelers hitting the highways this summer might better appreciate the asphalt beneath their tires thanks to this engrossing history of the creation of the U.S. interstate system.”—Los Angeles Times “Engaging, informative . . . The first thorough history of the expressway system.”—Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post “The book is a road geek’s treasure—and everyone who travels the highways ought to know these stories.”—Kirkus Reviews Amazon.com Review A man-made wonder, a connective network, an economic force, a bringer of blight and sprawl and the possibility of escape—the U.S. interstate system changed the face of our country. The Big Roads charts the creation of these essential American highways. From the turn-of-the-century car racing entrepreneur who spurred the citizen-led “Good Roads” movement, to the handful of driven engineers who conceived of the interstates and how they would work—years before President Eisenhower knew the plans existed—to the protests that erupted across the nation when highways reached the cities and found people unwilling to be uprooted in the name of progress, Swift follows a winding, fascinating route through twentieth-century American life. How did we get from dirt tracks to expressways, from main streets to off-ramps, from mud to concrete and steel, in less than a century? Through decades of politics, activism, and marvels of engineering, we recognize in our highways the wanderlust, grand scale, and conflicting notions of citizenship and progress that define America. Amazon Exclusive: A Q&A with Earl Swift Q: What drew you to writing about the interstate highways? A: Well, they’re kind of hard to miss. They’ve snaked their way into every aspect of our lives — where we live and work and go to school, what we eat, how we view time and distance. They’ve altered the shape and size and character of our cities, and what it means to live in the "country." We see the physical United States differently, thanks to this weave of concrete. Check out the weather map on any TV news program, national or local: the United States is no longer depicted topographically, with rivers and mountains as its reference points, but as a grid of highways. That reflects how we’ve come to see America: not as an expanse of physical obstacles, but as a network of high-speed corridors that are so ubiquitous, they’re taken for granted. The fresh salad you toss at home and the steak you savor at a big-city restaurant wouldn’t be possible without them. The clothes, furniture, electronics, even the house you buy, depend on the speed and access they provide. Building the interstates wasn’t simply a matter of pouring concrete; they helped create the modern American experience. Q: The book’s subtitle mentions the "engineers, visionaries, and trailblazers" who created America’s superhighways, but nothing about presidents. Weren’t the interstates Dwight Eisenhower’s doing? A: Actually, Ike had very little to do with them — which may come as a surprise, seeing as how they’re named for the man and associated with his time in office, alongside coonskin caps and polio shots. In truth, FDR had more of a hand in the interstates. And their origins date back decades before him: they’re the product of an evolution that began before America’s entry into World War I. The real fathers of our modern highway system will be unknown names to most readers. There’s Carl Fisher, who inspired the nation’s first primitive network of motor roads; Thomas MacDonald and a supporting cast in the federal Bureau of Public Roads, who turned that network into the numbered U.S. highway system in the mid-twenties and drew up plans for the interstates in the late thirties; and Frank Turner, who played the starring role in turning that prewar vision into what we have today. Alongside these builders are a host of men and women who helped shape what we got, some of them by resisting the system’s advance — people like Lewis Mumford, a writer who initially championed high-speed roads and later became their harshest critic. Q: Did you know of these players before you started work on the book? A: No, I didn’t. I assumed I knew the basics, that Eisenhower was a major figure in the story. The more I researched, the more I came to see that it wasn’t so. The myth was helped along by Ike himself. In his memoirs he writes about a coast-to-coast trip he took with an army truck convoy in 1919, and how it opened his eyes to the primitive state of American roads; it took the convoy 62 days to drive from D.C. to San Francisco. A quarter-century later, his armies advanced on Berlin using Germany’s autobahns, and he realized that here was the answer — and so it was, he wrote, that building a superhighway network became one of his priorities as president. Ike certainly had both of those experiences, and they may well have fueled his desire for big roads. But by the time he got into politics, the interstates were a done deal. How they are, and where they are, had largely been decided, and they differed in fundamental ways with what he had in mind. Q: Did you drive much of the system in researching the book? A: I’ve traveled about 20,000 miles of the interstates, or roughly forty percent of the total. That doesn’t include do-overs: some legs I’ve driven many times — I-44 and I-40 between St. Louis and L.A., which parallels old Route 66; I-95 between New York and Richmond; I-80 from New York to San Francisco; the 900-odd miles of I-64. Researching the story’s main characters required that I spend a good bit of time with their papers, which are locked away in university archives and libraries all over the country. On one road trip, in the summer of 2008, my daughter and I drove from our home on the Virginia shore to Hot Springs, Arkansas; Texas A Fort Worth; Iowa State; the small town of Montezuma, Iowa; Ottawa, Illinois; and the University of Michigan’s main campus in Ann Arbor. On another research trip, in the summer of 2006, we drove the Lincoln Highway through eleven states. Q: Are you a fan of the system? A: Most of the time I’m on it, yes. But it certainly has its negatives: an interstate exit has more in common with interchanges a thousand miles away than it does with the local countryside; the system amounts to a fifty- first state, a place unto itself — one of unvaried engineering, look-alike architecture, taste-alike food. So driving an interstate through, say, New Mexico is not exactly like visiting New Mexico. You can see it from the highway, but you’re kept at a distance by the interstate’s wide corridor, and the view is blurred by your speed; you’re in it, but not of it. It’s a bit like changing planes in an airport terminal. You can’t really say you’ve been to the surrounding city. For all that, I enjoy driving on interstates. I enjoy their smooth speed; I’d imagine it’s as close as most of us come to piloting a plane. I appreciate their ease and safety. I’m awed by their scale. Some of their approaches to cities offer truly spectacular views. And I’ve had some wonderful moments on them, with company and without. I get a lot of thinking done when I’m on the road. Plus, there’s this: whatever their flaws, whatever unintended ills they spawned, the interstates do exactly what they were designed to do, and do it very well. They account for one percent of our highway mileage. They carry a quarter of our traffic. They’re really pretty amazing. Q: Do you have any favorite routes? A: I always look forward to driving I-81 through Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley — the Blue Ridge looms to the east, the Alleghenies to the west. It’s gorgeous, though you can’t gaze for too long, because the highway’s crowded with trucks. I-40 in the Southwest and I-80 in the Great Plains pass through some austere but beautiful country. There’s a pleasing lonesomeness to those drives. I-10 rides a causeway through the Louisiana swamps; drive it just after dawn, it’s otherworldly. Q: Any bad experiences? A: Oh, sure. Whenever I drive the New Jersey Turnpike or the Long Island Expressway, I can’t say I’m having a good time; they can be harrowing. Same goes for the Capital Beltway at rush hour, which most days seems to last about eighteen hours. I avoid certain rural stretches whenever possible. I-35 between Fort Worth and Waco is weedy, trash-strewn, ugly. The Indiana Toll Road is an eyesore. The road surfaces in Michigan and Illinois are close to lunar. As for moments of real danger, I was in a dozen-car pileup once, on I-44 in southern Missouri. Didn’t get hurt, but it was an eerie experience to see such a lavish piece of engineering rendered unusable; the whole highway was blocked by wreckage. I was rear-ended while stopped at another snow-related accident by a Camaro doing 50; I was in a microscopic Fiat. That was unpleasant, to say the least, but again, I didn’t get hurt. Then there was the time my MG started to overheat as I drove alone across the desert from Needles to Barstow, California. It was blistering out — 110 degrees or so — and I had no choice but to crank up the heater. That stretch of I-40 was the longest hundred miles I’ve ever driven. On any kind of road. Review "America’s interstate system tied together urban areas, bypassed thousands of small-town main streets, fanned the sprawl of suburbia, and sent millions of baby boomers on road trips with their parents, asking, ‘Are we there yet?’ With a great sense of how this changed the country, Earl Swift has told an intriguing tale of vision, personal sacrifice, and can-do determination." —Walter R. Borneman, author of *Rival Rails: The Race to Build America’s Greatest Transcontinental Railroad "Objects in the rearview mirror prove eerily close on every page of this lively, eminently sensible history of the guardrailed monument to American mobility." —John R. Stilgoe, author of *Train Time: Railroads and the Imminent Reshaping of the United States Landscape "A joy ride. Earl Swift has written the best kind of popular history--one that paints vivid portraits, debunks myths and brings to life the fascinating and appalling stories behind the creation of that massive mixed blessing known as America's interstate highways."—Bill Morris, author of Motor City "Swift has added texture and nuance, as well as narrative economy, to a story containing volumes, and he makes for an ideal traveling companion." —*New York Times Book Review * "Travelers hitting the highways this summer might better appreciate the asphalt beneath their tires thanks to this engrossing history of the creation of the U.S. interstate system."—Los Angeles Times “Engaging, informative . . . The first thorough history of the expressway system.”—Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post "The book is a road geek’s treasure—and everyone who travels the highways ought to know these stories." —Kirkus "Readers interested in urban planning as well as engineering will find a well-told story about a defining American feature." —Publishers Weekly

Divided Highways

Author: Tom Lewis
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 0801467837
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In Divided Highways, Tom Lewis offers an encompassing account of highway development in the United States. In the early twentieth century Congress created the Bureau of Public Roads to improve roads and the lives of rural Americans. The Bureau was the forerunner of the Interstate Highway System of 1956, which promoted a technocratic approach to modern road building sometimes at the expense of individual lives, regional characteristics, and the landscape. With thoughtful analysis and engaging prose Lewis charts the development of the Interstate system, including the demographic and economic pressures that influenced its planning and construction and the disputes that pitted individuals and local communities against engineers and federal administrators. This is a story of America's hopes for its future life and the realities of its present condition. It is an engaging history of the people and policies that profoundly transformed the American landscape-and the daily lives of Americans. In this updated edition of Divided Highways, Lewis brings his story of the Interstate system up to date, concluding with Boston's troubled and yet triumphant Big Dig project, the growing antipathy for big federal infrastructure projects, and the uncertain economics of highway projects both present and future.

The Ten Roads to Riches

Author: Kenneth L. Fisher
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1118445031
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Profiles of some of America's richest people and how they got that way—and how you can too! While we can't promise that this book will elevate you to the ranks of the super-rich, we can say that within its pages you'll discover everything you need to know about how, exactly, many of America's most famous (and infamous) millionaires and billionaires acquired their fortunes. The big surprise is that all of the super-wealthy it profiles got where they are today by taking one of just ten possible roads—including starting a business, buying real estate, investing wisely, and marrying extremely well. Whether you aspire to shameful wealth or just a demure fortune, bestselling author and self-made billionaire, Ken Fisher, will show you how to walk in the footsteps of tycoons—all the way to the financial success you dream of and deserve. Packed with amusing anecdotes of individuals who have traveled (or tumbled) down each road to wealth Extracts valuable lessons on how you, too, can achieve serious wealth, and, just as importantly, hold onto it Provides powerful tools for determining what you need to do to position yourself for success and "Guideposts" and "Warning Signs" to help keep you safely on your road to success Second Edition features more profiles and instructive examples than were found in the bestselling first edition

The Roads that Built America

Author: Dan McNichol
Publisher: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.
ISBN: 9781402734687
Format: PDF, ePub
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The year 2006 celebrates the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Interstate System, the most incredible road system in the world. Created by Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose WW II experiences taught him the necessity of a superhighway for military transport and evacuation in wartime, today's Interstate System is what connects our coasts and our borders, our cities and small towns. It's made possible our suburban lifestyle and caused the vast proliferation of businesses from HoJos to Holiday Inns. And if you order something online, most likely it's a truck barreling along an interstate that gets the product to your door. Written by bestselling author Dan McNichol, The Roads that Built America is the fascinating story of the largest engineering project the world has ever known.

Roads

Author: Larry McMurtry
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781439129012
Format: PDF, Kindle
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As he crisscrosses America -- driving in search of the present, the past, and himself -- Larry McMurtry shares his fascination with this nation's great trails and the culture that has developed around them. Ever since he was a boy growing up in Texas only a mile from Highway 281, Larry McMurtry has felt the pull of the road. His town was thoroughly landlocked, making the highway his "river, its hidden reaches a mystery and an enticement. I began my life beside it and I want to drift down the entire length of it before I end this book." In Roads, McMurtry embarks on a cross-country trip where his route is also his destination. As he drives, McMurtry reminisces about the places he's seen, the people he's met, and the books he's read, including more than 3,000 books about travel. He explains why watching episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show might be the best way to find joie de vivre in Minnesota; the scenic differences between Route 35 and I-801; which vigilantes lived in Montana and which hailed from Idaho; and the history of Lewis and Clark, Sitting Bull, and Custer that still haunts Route 2 today. As it makes its way from South Florida to North Dakota, from eastern Long Island to Oregon, Roads is travel writing at its best.

Two Roads from Here

Author: Teddy Steinkellner
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1481430637
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Five high school seniors. Two different roads. One life-changing decision. For fans of Tommy Wallach and Patrick Ness comes a “must-have coming-of-age story” (School Library Journal) that explores what happens to five teens when they choose the road…and the road not taken. Should Brian play in Friday’s football game, even though his head really hurts? Should Allegra commit to college now that her mother’s illness has returned? Should Cole cheat on the SATs for a chance to get into his dream school? Should Nikki go all the way with her boyfriend? Should Wiley tell his best friend that he loves her and risk losing her completely? These five seniors are about to have an opportunity people only dream about: to experience two potential outcomes of a life-altering decision. When it’s all over, will they still recognize their futures?

The American Highway

Author: William Kaszynski
Publisher: McFarland
ISBN: 9780786408221
Format: PDF, ePub
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Minnesota-based writer and photographer Kazynski traces the transformation of the US from a network of places connected by rutted wagon trails to a maze of highways connected to other highways. He describes and illustrates road and bridge construction and the new roadside culture that threw up motels, restaurants, gas stations, and scenic perspectives.

The Road Taken

Author: Henry Petroski
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 1632863618
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Acclaimed engineer and historian Henry Petroski explores our core infrastructure from both historical and contemporary perspectives, explaining how essential their maintenance is to America's economic health. Petroski reveals the genesis of the many parts of America's highway system--our interstate numbering system, the centerline that divides roads, and such taken-for-granted objects as guardrails, stop signs, and traffic lights--all crucial to our national and local infrastructure. A compelling work of history, The Road Taken is also an urgent clarion call aimed at American citizens, politicians, and anyone with a vested interest in our economic well-being. Physical infrastructure in the United States is crumbling, and Petroski reveals the complex and challenging interplay between government and industry inherent in major infrastructure improvement. The road we take in the next decade toward rebuilding our aging infrastructure will in large part determine our future national prosperity.