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Blue Highways: A Journey into America | [William Least Heat-Moon]

Blue Highways: A Journey into America

Hailed as a masterpiece of American travel writing, Blue Highways is an unforgettable journey along our nation's backroads. William Least Heat-Moon set out with little more than the need to put home behind him and a sense of curiosity about "those little towns that get on the map-if they get on at all-only because some cartographer has a blank space to fill: Remote, Oregon; Simplicity, Virginia; New Freedom, Pennsylvania; New Hope, Tennessee; Why, Arizona; Whynot, Mississippi." His adventures, his discoveries, and his recollections of the extraordinary people he encountered along the way amount to a revelation of the true American experience.
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Publisher's Summary

Hailed as a masterpiece of American travel writing, Blue Highways is an unforgettable journey along our nation's backroads. William Least Heat-Moon set out with little more than the need to put home behind him and a sense of curiosity about "those little towns that get on the map-if they get on at all-only because some cartographer has a blank space to fill: Remote, Oregon; Simplicity, Virginia; New Freedom, Pennsylvania; New Hope, Tennessee; Why, Arizona; Whynot, Mississippi." His adventures, his discoveries, and his recollections of the extraordinary people he encountered along the way amount to a revelation of the true American experience.

©1982 William Least Heat-Moon (P)2013 Hachette Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (105 )
5 star
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4.3 (99 )
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Story
4.3 (99 )
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Mr. Panama City, FL, United States 01-25-13
    Mr. Panama City, FL, United States 01-25-13 Member Since 2014

    Jonnie

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A new Mark Twain... this is a great book"

    I loved this book. The title intrigued me but with a new author you never know, especially with no ratings. The book grabbed me right from the beginning and never let go. It is very well written. It is funny, interesting, quirky, just an overall good experience. If you want to go on a road adventure through the back roads of America and into local peoples homes and lives try this book. I do not think you will be disappointed.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Bloggs WASHINGTON, IL, United States 03-03-13
    Joe Bloggs WASHINGTON, IL, United States 03-03-13 Member Since 2011

    Simple Joe

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Journey into the Heart of America"
    What did you love best about Blue Highways?

    The people William Least Heat Moon met. They made this book, without them the book would be lacking.


    What did you like best about this story?

    A man sets out across America with a few gas cards, little money and a van to live in. He's searching for something, maybe himself, what America is to him, history, peace of mind, adventure? He doesn't fully understand it himself. Recently divorced, out of work and generally down on his luck, Least Heat Moon is taking a stab at a long time dream to drive across America on the back roads, avoiding mainstream everything. He does it and this book documents his journey.


    Have you listened to any of Joe Barrett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but the performance is excellent. The voice changes and inflection capture the essence of the words and make you feel as if you are there.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The encounter with the guy in the desert. The guy is depressed and a bit strange. I can't really describe it here, but somehow the whole incident becomes a metaphor for two different ways to solve your problems or to look at the world.


    Any additional comments?

    What is this book? It's part local lore and history of various places in America, part travel adventure, part introspective and all excellent writing. America is a different place than it was in 1978 when the journey was made, but I think the basic fabric of America that Least Heat Moon discovered is still there.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gypsy Wife Back on Boogie Street 03-29-13
    Gypsy Wife Back on Boogie Street 03-29-13 Member Since 2008

    Gypsy Wife

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    "A wonderful book made better by Joe Barrett"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. I read the book years ago, and Joe Barrett's narration brought it back to life for me.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Blue Highways?

    I can't say; everything about this book is memorable.


    What does Joe Barrett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His voice with its gruff edge brings forth the writer's sense of humor along with his respect for people of all walks and means.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim 06-16-14
    Tim 06-16-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing Book - Amazing Narration"
    If you could sum up Blue Highways in three words, what would they be?

    Fun. Motivating. Insightful.


    What other book might you compare Blue Highways to and why?

    Travels with Charly.


    What does Joe Barrett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    So many different characters. So many different, seemingly excellent, accents. I'm not an expert.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Motivation to go out and explore.


    Any additional comments?

    If you've read this book before, the narration makes listening well worth your while!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer United States 08-08-15
    Amazon Customer United States 08-08-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Quiet but beautiful journey"

    This is a quiet journey that is best with full attention rather than multitasking but the lyrical descriptions will reward your focus . I took breaks at times for something faster paced but came back. My favorite parts are his conversations with folks on the East Coast near the end. If you are looking for a story of everyday people from across the country mixed with poetic descriptions of geography, listen to this book. Oh and the reader did a fantastic job, changing voices, tone and cadence to fit the region and gender and age.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    marie 08-07-15
    marie 08-07-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Better than Steinbeck's Travels with Charley"

    This is the standard by which all road trip books should be measured; and many have already been found wanting.
    I "read" this audiobook at the suggestion of a friend when I was on my own roadtrip. Great, inspiring, hope-and-courage-manifesting suggestion. He captures and honors a part of America that's disappearing or disappeared; and in so doing celebrates all of us Anericans and our Blue Highways.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David United States 05-02-15
    David United States 05-02-15 Member Since 2012

    Hellicopter Man

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    "Suspicious piece two generations past prime time."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Recommend with caution. I was seriously put off when it got all racialist post 1960s. And I am always suspicious of so many many deep intimacies revealed within mear moments of a single transient encounter.


    Any additional comments?

    If I have the stomach for addition reading beyond the red neck in Selma I will let you know.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ricky D. Bridges 04-02-15
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    "Extraordinary Narration"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Blue Highways to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print version.


    What other book might you compare Blue Highways to and why?

    The only thing I have read that is remotely similar is On the Road.


    Have you listened to any of Joe Barrett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This is the fist time I heard Joe Barret. It is an extraordinary performance. I think he is the most talented narrator I have heard so far. His narration is extremely versatile with great accents for the huge number of people encountered in this book from all across the United States.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The afterward where he talks about getting this published. Also, the desription of his day on the fishing boat was particularly vivid.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan R. 03-13-15
    Dan R. 03-13-15
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    "Great travel book"

    I listened to this on a long road trip. It lasted from Knoxville to Dallas, all on 'Blue Highways', and made the time fly. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PAUL surprise, az, United States 08-07-14
    PAUL surprise, az, United States 08-07-14 Member Since 2011

    my ipod and audible make the daily 10 mile walks a "breeze"....

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "super look of rural america on back roads"

    my son gave this book to me several years ago because he knew of my love of traveling on the back roads. the book was read and then placed on the shelf where it has been for several years. when i discovered that it was available in audio form, i immediately purchased, downloaded on my ipod and enjoyed it again during my daily walks. between the first read and the recently listened to version...it is interesting to note that i have also traveled on many of the same roads...not exactly the same results but interesting travels. if you like an off the beaten path look at america...put this book on your must read list.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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