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The National Road

Dispatches from a Changing America

List Price: $26.00

October 13, 2020 | Hardcover | 272 pages | ISBN 9781640092907
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“How was it possible, I wondered, that all of this American land–in every direction–could be fastened together into a whole?”

From the embattled newsrooms of small town newspapers to the pornography film sets of the Los Angeles basin, from the check-out lanes of Dollar General to the holy sites of Mormonism, from the nation’s highest peaks to the razed remains of a cherished home, like a latter-day Woody Guthrie, Tom Zoellner takes to the highways and byways of a vast land in search of the soul of its people.

But what does it mean when a nation accustomed to moving begins to settle down, when political discord threatens unity, and when technology disrupts traditional ways of building communities? Is a shared soil enough to reinvigorate a national spirit? In these divided times, Zoellner’s journey across America–and into our often-contradictory histories–serves to remind us that despite our differences we all belong to the same land.

By turns nostalgic and probing, incisive and enraged, Zoellner’s reflections reveal a nation divided by faith, politics, and shifting economies, but–more importantly–one united by a shared sense of ownership in the common land.

About Tom Zoellner

TOM ZOELLNER is the author and co-author of eight previous nonfiction books, the politics editor of The Los Angeles Review of Books, an associate professor of English at Chapman University and a visiting professor of English at Dartmouth College. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Harper's, Men's Health, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many other places. He is the recipient of fellowships and residencies from The Lannan Foundation, the Corporation of Yaddo and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation.


Praise for The National Road: Dispatches from a Changing America

"Tom Zoellner is one of my go-to authors. He has a clear eye, a deep soul and a very sharp pen. This new collection drives like the best car on the Autobahn on a spring day as you speed toward the mountains." --Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The House of Broken Angels and The Devil's Highway

"Tom Zoellner writes like a dream and thinks like the best kind of realist--the kind whose truth telling is infused with fundamental compassion, implicit empathy, and genuine curiosity. Timeless as this subject matter is, The National Road may be the perfect guidebook for a tour of the American geographical and social landscape right now. It skips the political muck of the moment and takes us deep into the root systems of our knotty, bewildering, often-exasperating yet reliably awe-inspiring country." --Meghan Daum, author of The Problem With Everything: My Journey Through The New Culture Wars

"Who and what is America? Tom Zoellner's wonderful The National Road takes us a long way toward right understanding, a forty-years-and-counting road trip across American space and time that absorbs huge swaths of our collective experience. Casinos and atom bombs, real estate and porn movies, small-town corruption, big-city strivers, Mormon martyrs and so much more get rolled into the pages of this questing and questioning big-hearted book. To get where we're going, we need to know where we've gone, and Tom Zoellner is the best guide for our times that I know of." --Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

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