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Horatio's Drive | [Dayton Duncan, Ken Burns]

Horatio's Drive

In 1903 there were only 150 miles of paved roads in the entire nation and most people had never seen a "horseless buggy" - but that did not stop Horatio Nelson Jackson, a 31-year-old Vermont doctor, who impulsively bet $50 that he could drive his 20-horsepower automobile from San Francisco to New York City. Here - in Jackson's own words - is a glorious account of that months-long, problem-beset, thrilling-to-the-rattled-bones trip with his mechanic, Sewall Crocker, and a bulldog named Bud.
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Publisher's Summary

In 1903 there were only 150 miles of paved roads in the entire nation and most people had never seen a "horseless buggy" - but that did not stop Horatio Nelson Jackson, a 31-year-old Vermont doctor, who impulsively bet $50 that he could drive his 20-horsepower automobile from San Francisco to New York City. Here - in Jackson's own words - is a glorious account of that months-long, problem-beset, thrilling-to-the-rattled-bones trip with his mechanic, Sewall Crocker, and a bulldog named Bud. Jackson's previously unpublished letters to his wife, brimming with optimism against all odds, describe in vivid detail every detour, every flat tire, every adventure good and bad - in a country still settled mainly in small towns, where life moved no faster than the horse-drawn carriage and where the arrival of Jackson's open-air (roofless and windowless) Winton would cause delirious excitement.

Jackson was possessed of a deep thirst for adventure, and his remarkable story chronicles the very beginning of the restless road trips that soon became a way of life in America. Horatio's Drive is the first chapter in our nation's great romance with the road.

©Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns; (P)2003 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Randhom House Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Historian [Dayton] Duncan and documentary filmmaker [Ken] Burns read the bulk of this audio adaptation...with all the enthusiasm of a pair of travelers setting off on the open road." (Publishers Weekly)
"If any audiobook was ever destined to be heard on a car trip, this is the one....A historical American drama never told before." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (46 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Elizabeth Bellevue, WA, United States 05-12-12
    Elizabeth Bellevue, WA, United States 05-12-12 Member Since 2007

    A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!

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    "Great story!"

    Who knew about the first cross-country road trip? I sure didn't until listening to this book. A cross-country road traveller myself (4 times in the car), I found the plight of Horatio interesting, funny and frustrating, and I was glad that my family's adventures were never as severe as poor Horatio. The book is a companion to a documentary, and it reads a bit like that. I imagine the print version might be better because it probably includes photos, diagrams and maps. I don't think the lack of those took away from the experience of listening to the book, but they probably would add to the reading of it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas WATERFORD, MI, United States 11-28-11
    Thomas WATERFORD, MI, United States 11-28-11 Member Since 2001

    Mostly non-fiction: biographies, history, science, etc.

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    "A good sandwich, but too much bread"

    This is my second time taking in the Dayton Duncan-Ken Burns audiobook about plucky doctor-turned-adventurer Horatio Jackson's historic first crossing of the U.S. continent by automobile. The challenges, the individual triumph, the unplanned three-way race make for a compelling, exciting American tale. Cameo narration by Tom Hanks and, at the NYC end, George Plimpton, and others make for a great, exciting, entertaining telling. However, Ken Burns' lengthy, self-indulgent introduction borders on narcissism and takes away from the initial energy, while Duncan's panoramic road trip paean and excessive Walt Whitman quotes take away from the already perfect conclusion: Horation finally making it home.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Singer Idyllwild, CA 04-25-14
    C. Singer Idyllwild, CA 04-25-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Fun & Short History Lesson"
    Would you listen to Horatio's Drive again? Why?

    Absolutely I would listen again. There was so much information and it moved so quickly that I wouldn't mind listening again. The whole book was just over 3 hours. And such an interesting time in history.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I loved the tenacity. Now a days, we pull over and call AAA if we have a flat tire. I was in disbelief that they traveled over animal paths with a block & tackle to pull their car out of every form of mishap. Boy are we wimps today.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I loved the bulldog they picked up along the way that was their mascot. Even bulldogs are wimpier today. This one was a trooper!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    chris 03-07-13
    chris 03-07-13
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    "An American tale..."
    Where does Horatio's Drive rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 15%


    What other book might you compare Horatio's Drive to and why?

    William, Alfred, and General Motors. Another historic snapshot of how the automobile changed America. The fortitude of Americans was keenly defined by everyday auto pioneers like the main character.


    What does Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Historical accuracy and sidebars that make it interesting. Did you know that the Smithsonian has this car on display at the Museum of American History on the mall? That should give relevance to the significance of this journey.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    Literally changes in the storyline occur with every turn of the wheel. Something that was hard to do then and would go unoticed if done today. Read it for the sake of learning about the culture of those times and enjoy the sense of accomplishment made by the main character.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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