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.