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Blue Highways Audiobook

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 (130 )
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4.4 (123 )
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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

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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.

    7 of 7 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.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim 06-16-14
    Tim 06-16-14
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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!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    j_Geek North Carolina 10-16-15
    j_Geek North Carolina 10-16-15 Member Since 2015
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    "A tale for those with wandering souls"
    What did you love best about Blue Highways?

    I loved the influence that the characters met during Heat-Moon's travel had on his direction; physically, mentally, and spiritually. Each character described opens a view into their world that begs question and consideration for more.


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

    When the author traveled through Selma, AL to inquire of the changes, or lack there of, after the march of Martin Luther King. A tension is experienced during that time in the story that tease the feelings of fear and rage.


    What about Joe Barrett’s performance did you like?

    The character voices were each original and alive with identity.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Life through the looking glass


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    adam bellcorelli oshkosh,wi 09-24-15
    adam bellcorelli oshkosh,wi 09-24-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Vast and Sweet"

    The audio version of Blue Highways has one perk not available in the text version and that is the wonderfully performed, but not over done, variety of accents from across the country.
    The story is compassionate and insightful and inspirational.
    A nostalgic look back that would be easily translated into a PBS tv series of "where are they now" type shows on the many town and people William introduces us to. If someone could make that happen, it's a free idea for you.

    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.

    1 of 1 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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 12-07-13
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 12-07-13 Member Since 2010

    Audio Addict! Usually listening to History these days. Love Will Durant most of all authors!

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    "Lovely book!! Outstanding."

    This is an outstanding story!! It has a magic quality that I can't put my finger on, but I loved it so much that I went and bought other books by the author when I was only 1/2 way through!!

    This adventure is actually born of tragedy in the author's life. William Least Heat-Moon was separated from his wife when he lost his teaching job. With no prospects for the near future, Moon decides to travel the country using back roads and sleeping in his truck, which he converted it into a sort of make-shift RV. Along the way, he meets many interesting, compelling and charming people. He travels to a variety of fascinating destinations, some unknown and some famous, and some with really strange names! He delves into all kinds of issues with the people he meets. Some issues are serious and important, and some are just strange and humorous. The result of it all is the adventure of a lifetime. A true JOY to read!

    Im pretty sure Blue Highways was first published in 1983. Fortunately, I didn't know that when I started listening. I might have skipped the book, considering it too dated to be of interest for me. In fact, Least Heat-Moon began his drive through the U.S. in 1978, the year I was born. After only a few chapters though, I was hooked. This book is anything but dated!! Don't get me wrong, some of his experiences don't reflect the the current state of things; for example, his encounters with racism in the Deep South were shocking to me and far worse in 1978 than in 2013. But this is incredibly relevant. It feels really good to see how far we've come as a country. It gives hope that the positive changes will continue. Moon also discusses the changes in the cities he visits. Exploring the histories with the people who live there and love their city.

    For me, the most touching aspect of the story involves issues that are timeless, issues that involve the complexities of human nature. The search for spiritual balance, the contrast of the religious and the secular, the desire to be isolated or to be social, the fundamental need to connect and understand people of different cultures, ages, and backgrounds...

    I was really blown away by Moon's beautiful writing style. It's very human, thought provoking, and quite clever! As an audiobook, this was a sheer joy!

    Highest recommendations!!

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric 11-02-15
    Eric 11-02-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Fun book to listen too"

    very well done. loved it! funny but yet very educational. Can't wait to get on the road to meet intteresting people like this .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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