An Impala’s-Eye View of Highway History

Finn-Olaf Jones in the New York Times Book Review:


For those of us reared on family car vacations, Jack Kerouac and every buddy road story from Lewis and Clark to “Thelma and Louise,” crossing the country is such an American ritual it’s like pledging allegiance to the flag at 65 miles per hour. Get that average speed up to a mere 110 and, thanks to the miracle of the Interstate, it’s possible to race across the continent in one day and still have time to pick up a couple of Happy Meals at the drive-through.

The Interstate highway system turned 50 this month. Robert Sullivan, chronicler of swamps, whales and rodents (as the author of “Meadowlands,” “A Whale Hunt” and “Rats”), now applies his onion-peeling skills to the evolution of this multilane leveler of mountains, deserts, rivers and regionalism.

More here.