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American Nomads: Travels with Lost Conquistadors, Mountain Men, Cowboys, Indians, Hoboes, Truckers, and Bullriders

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Fascinated by the land of endless horizons, sunshine, and the open road, Richard Grant spent fifteen years wandering throughout the United States, never spending more than three weeks in one place and getting to know America?s nomads ? truckers, tramps, rodeo cowboys, tie-dyed concert followers, flea market traders, retirees who live year round in their RV?s, and the murde Fascinated by the land of endless horizons, sunshine, and the open road, Richard Grant spent fifteen years wandering throughout the United States, never spending more than three weeks in one place and getting to know America?s nomads ? truckers, tramps, rodeo cowboys, tie-dyed concert followers, flea market traders, retirees who live year round in their RV?s, and the murderous Freight Train Riders of America (FTRA). In a richly comic travelogue, Grant uses these lives and his own to examine the myths and realities of the wandering life, and its contradiction with the sedentary American dream. Along with a personal account, American Nomads traces the history of wandering in the New World, through vividly told stories of frontiersmen, fur trappers and cowboys, Comanche and Apache warriors, all the way back to the first Spanish explorers who crossed the continent. What unites these disparate characters, as they range back and forth across the centuries, is a stubborn conviction that the only true freedom is to roam across the land.


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Fascinated by the land of endless horizons, sunshine, and the open road, Richard Grant spent fifteen years wandering throughout the United States, never spending more than three weeks in one place and getting to know America?s nomads ? truckers, tramps, rodeo cowboys, tie-dyed concert followers, flea market traders, retirees who live year round in their RV?s, and the murde Fascinated by the land of endless horizons, sunshine, and the open road, Richard Grant spent fifteen years wandering throughout the United States, never spending more than three weeks in one place and getting to know America?s nomads ? truckers, tramps, rodeo cowboys, tie-dyed concert followers, flea market traders, retirees who live year round in their RV?s, and the murderous Freight Train Riders of America (FTRA). In a richly comic travelogue, Grant uses these lives and his own to examine the myths and realities of the wandering life, and its contradiction with the sedentary American dream. Along with a personal account, American Nomads traces the history of wandering in the New World, through vividly told stories of frontiersmen, fur trappers and cowboys, Comanche and Apache warriors, all the way back to the first Spanish explorers who crossed the continent. What unites these disparate characters, as they range back and forth across the centuries, is a stubborn conviction that the only true freedom is to roam across the land.

30 review for American Nomads: Travels with Lost Conquistadors, Mountain Men, Cowboys, Indians, Hoboes, Truckers, and Bullriders

  1. 5 out of 5

    Christie Bane

    The author is a Brit who came to America to wander. Literally, he understood that the great open spaces of the American West are made for wandering in a way that nowhere in Europe is. To say I'm jealous of this guy would be an understatement. What wouldn't I give to be able to just leave it all behind and hit the road! Anyway, enough about me. This book covers both modern-day (railroad tramps, RV-ers, Rainbow gatherers) and historical (cowboys, Indians, mountain men) wanderers. There's quite a b The author is a Brit who came to America to wander. Literally, he understood that the great open spaces of the American West are made for wandering in a way that nowhere in Europe is. To say I'm jealous of this guy would be an understatement. What wouldn't I give to be able to just leave it all behind and hit the road! Anyway, enough about me. This book covers both modern-day (railroad tramps, RV-ers, Rainbow gatherers) and historical (cowboys, Indians, mountain men) wanderers. There's quite a bit more historical detail than I expected in this book; I was thinking it would be all about the population that currently lives rootless on the road. The history was always fascinating. We have such an awesome heritage of people who were not afraid to strike out into the great unknown! I will never forget the feeing of being on the road in the deserts of southeastern California, driving for a hundred miles on a road without seeing any civilization except a ghost town here and there. There is next to nothing in my real life that is equally thrilling. If I have my way I will end up in an RV on the edge of the Salton Sea if I ever get to retire. But only for a couple weeks before moving on to the next destination. Yeah, I hate being a home owner at this moment.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    I found the subject matter fascinating and the writer's attitudes frustrating. It's been pointed out to me that Grant has mainly written for Esquire, and so expecting any kind of approach that took women into account as full human beings was, perhaps, overly optimistic of me. The INS "thank you" is a joke that falls flat about how it took the fear of deportation to make him finally get married. There's no real examination of what would make a person choose to be a nomad, and there's an explicit I found the subject matter fascinating and the writer's attitudes frustrating. It's been pointed out to me that Grant has mainly written for Esquire, and so expecting any kind of approach that took women into account as full human beings was, perhaps, overly optimistic of me. The INS "thank you" is a joke that falls flat about how it took the fear of deportation to make him finally get married. There's no real examination of what would make a person choose to be a nomad, and there's an explicit exclusion of women as independent wanderers, except for one token inclusion in the final chapter. Grant knew what he wanted his story to be, so he put on some blinders and went out looking for it. Meh.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Howard

    Great jump out of the starting gate; ran out of gas down the home stretch; stumbled across the finish line. ”

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jenni

    This book was eye-opening to me in a way that the author probably did not intend. In this part travelogue/part research, the author set about finding out more about how and why various groups have chosen a nomadic existence, against the status quo, "normal" routine of settling down in one place, choosing a place to call home and be situated, etc. To conduct his research the author, somewhat of a nomad himself, spent a considerable amount of time with the various groups to live their lives for a b This book was eye-opening to me in a way that the author probably did not intend. In this part travelogue/part research, the author set about finding out more about how and why various groups have chosen a nomadic existence, against the status quo, "normal" routine of settling down in one place, choosing a place to call home and be situated, etc. To conduct his research the author, somewhat of a nomad himself, spent a considerable amount of time with the various groups to live their lives for a bit, and his narrative of those experiences revealed a lot of the "underground" world of those who choose to live nomadic lives. Although the author discussed numerous nomadic groups (mentioned in the title), it was his research with the "hoboes," in particular, that was eye-opening to me. It's easy to assume that the homeless, or those who panhandle, or those who hitchhike, etc. are "down on their luck" or have fallen on hard times, or only sleep in tents or on the street because they have no choice. But the author revealed that there is a significant population of people who really have chosen to live in this way, who do not want to conform to society's expectation that the normal way of life is to work, live in a home, couple up and raise a family. And they know that their appearance of destitution strikes at the heart of those who feel obligated to assist them in finding shelter (or to give them money), because we - the people with jobs and homes and have settled and conformed to societal norms - cannot imagine why anyone would willingly not want to do these things. On a more positive spin, for someone who has (had?) a big case of wanderlust for years, this made me want to buy myself an RV and hit the road. :)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Glynn

    A really fascinating mixture of American history and good yarns which covers everything from Native Americans and early settlers to migratory retirement communities, hippies and truckers. Possibly the author over-romanticises somewhat, but as I've not read a great deal on the subject before or since I couldn't say for sure. My instinct is that, the author being British and obviously enamoured with the North American landscape and the American ideal long before experiencing either, it's probably A really fascinating mixture of American history and good yarns which covers everything from Native Americans and early settlers to migratory retirement communities, hippies and truckers. Possibly the author over-romanticises somewhat, but as I've not read a great deal on the subject before or since I couldn't say for sure. My instinct is that, the author being British and obviously enamoured with the North American landscape and the American ideal long before experiencing either, it's probably at least little rose-tinted. Then, I'm also a Brit and a sucker for idealism and loner mythology, so Grant is playing to a home crowd in my case. None of this detracts. It isn't intended as a detailed, unbiassed history and shouldn't be taken as such. The author made his living selling articles about the US to European newspapers and magazines, so it has that good quality Saturday newspaper supplement feel to it. Probably a good jumping off point for anyone with a developing interest in American history, and a must read for anyone who feels the allure of endless desert roads.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Superbly well-researched, reported, and written. The prose is both densely packed and economical. Worth reading more than once, as well as viewing the documentary, which only partially shares material.

  7. 4 out of 5

    James

    Sort of a travelogue/popular history hybrid in the Sarah Vowell mode, although perhaps a better analogue would be the overeducated-and-undermotivated*-Brit-interacts-with-colorful-locals-in-an-exotic-locale gonzo journalism of Peter Robb , Geoff Dyer , or Duncan McLean . I read this because I had really enjoyed God's Middle Finger , a similarly structured account of Grant's travels in the Sierra Madre published five years after the present volume. Like American Nomads, it Sort of a travelogue/popular history hybrid in the Sarah Vowell mode, although perhaps a better analogue would be the overeducated-and-undermotivated*-Brit-interacts-with-colorful-locals-in-an-exotic-locale gonzo journalism of Peter Robb , Geoff Dyer , or Duncan McLean . I read this because I had really enjoyed God's Middle Finger , a similarly structured account of Grant's travels in the Sierra Madre published five years after the present volume. Like American Nomads, it was smart and stylish and super fun and , and in addition to its own excellence, turned me on to the superb fiction of J.P.S. Brown . As anyone who knows me could immediately tell from the subtitle, this book is, as my wife likes to say, right up my street to an almost eerie degree. If it had off-topic chapters on Vikings and Shakespeare and glam rock it would be a nearly comprehensive catalogue of my interests. I exaggerate for barely comic effect, of course, but this was yet another instance when I had to wonder if my keen personal interests, far from being identity-defining aspects of my unique character, are just indications that I was on the leading edge of some sort of marketing push, like thinking I somehow "discovered" the Beat Generation in the brief instant before I was seeing "Kerouac wore khakis" Gap ads everywhere I looked. Grant's method here is to travel to a location or attend an event associated with some population of contemporary nomads, whether the annual Rainbow Gathering of peripatetic hippies or the "rendezvous circuit" frequented by the Rocky Mountain fur trade re-enactors known as "buckskinners," and to use that personal experience narrative as a springboard to explore the history of an analogous or related species of American nomad. I could barely contain my excitement as I encountered chapter after chapter about some topic of obsessive personal interest, whether it be Cabeza de Vaca(!), Apaches(!), cowboys, or Comanches(!). I learned a ton about a lot of things, but I think my favorite fun fact (and potential new search term) was that there is a name for the pre-mountain man generations of Appalachian frontiersmen like Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett: the long hunters. How cool is that? There is even a surprising but inevitable chapter about hoboes, who, in Grant's telling, are a far cry from the romanticized "Johnson Family" I carry around in my head courtesy of Jack Black via William Burroughs . * By their accounts. These guys all write prolifically and with craft.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Theo Logos

    American Nomads was part of my summer reading list, a little lighter reading than my usual fare I thought. While Grant's book delivered as an enjoyable and swift read that was not too heavy, it also surprised me with its grasp of Western history and valuable insights. Richard Grant is a Brit with an inclination to ramble. He fell in love with the wide-open spaces and endless road of the American West, and began a life of rambling all over the West at will. When he ran out of money, he returned to American Nomads was part of my summer reading list, a little lighter reading than my usual fare I thought. While Grant's book delivered as an enjoyable and swift read that was not too heavy, it also surprised me with its grasp of Western history and valuable insights. Richard Grant is a Brit with an inclination to ramble. He fell in love with the wide-open spaces and endless road of the American West, and began a life of rambling all over the West at will. When he ran out of money, he returned to England and sold articles about his adventures until he raise another stake to come back and repeat the process. This book, his first, is the logical outcome of that process. Grant artfully blends his own adventures on the road with historical examples illustrating the nomadic instinct that the open spaces of the West seem to draw out from those who live there. His chapters on conquistador Cabeza de Vaca, mountain man Joe Walker, and the Comanche tribe are particularly well researched and written. (His writing on the conquistador has inspired me to read Cabeza de Vaca's own Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America.)These subjects are well chosen, both as dynamic interesting stories, and for their instructiveness to Grant's theme. Along side of these historical set-pieces, Grant tells of his own adventures on the road with psychotic hitchhikers, old school hobos, the drunken dregs of the Rainbow family, and methed-out crazy rodeo bull riders, among others. He ponders on how so many of the nomads that he meets in the West tend to be societies walking wounded , and notes the hardships and misunderstandings of being a nomad in a largely sedentary culture. But this is no whining treatise. Grant's joy in and love for a wandering life in the beautiful empty spaces of the West is palpable, and if you feel any inclination in that direction, possibly contagious. If you love road books and well-done history, consider American Nomads a must read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    I have been fascinated with wanderers, drifters, hobos and nomads for much of my life. Perhaps that comes from living within the sound of passing trains and the whistle (more of a horn) that I would fall asleep to as a child. I love to travel and I wish I had a copy of this book "American Nomads" at my side years ago. Richard Grant is a wanderer at heart and in the tradition of Paul Theroux and Bruce Chatwin, he is a careful observer and recorder of the sights and sounds of life on the road. In G I have been fascinated with wanderers, drifters, hobos and nomads for much of my life. Perhaps that comes from living within the sound of passing trains and the whistle (more of a horn) that I would fall asleep to as a child. I love to travel and I wish I had a copy of this book "American Nomads" at my side years ago. Richard Grant is a wanderer at heart and in the tradition of Paul Theroux and Bruce Chatwin, he is a careful observer and recorder of the sights and sounds of life on the road. In Grant's case, this means America. He is a Brit and sees this country the way 'outsiders' see it, a land of immense expanse and endless roads to travel and trails to hike. I believe this particular book is out of print, but it is well worth...I would go so far to say 'essential' to have in any library of exploration. The author is witty and personal in his reflections. The historical aspects of the book, dealing with cowboys, Native Americans, rodeo bronco riders and truckers are detailed in historical fact. He even covers the phenomena of the RV'ers of present day that follow the sun from Florida to Yuma. If you looking for a great read about the motivation that drives people to take to the road and follow an instinct rather than a map or GPS, then take the trouble to find this book! You will not be sorry.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Julian Walker

    An alternative America vividly brought to life with some excellent descriptive writing and a host of characters from the less ordinary side of life. Mixing history with modern travelers' tales, the author looks for a common theme between some of the great wanderers from yesteryear with current people who live outside the accustomed parallel lines of life today. Eye opening, engagingly written, and skillfully mixing travel, history, politics and biography, this was an unexpected gem of a book. An alternative America vividly brought to life with some excellent descriptive writing and a host of characters from the less ordinary side of life. Mixing history with modern travelers' tales, the author looks for a common theme between some of the great wanderers from yesteryear with current people who live outside the accustomed parallel lines of life today. Eye opening, engagingly written, and skillfully mixing travel, history, politics and biography, this was an unexpected gem of a book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Melody

    After reading Grant's Dispatches from Pluto, I had high hopes for this book, and couldn't wait to start it, but I was quite disappointed. I thought the book would center more around contemporary experiences, which it did to some degree, but it was VERY heavy on 1800s US history, which is not my cup of tea, and I didn't think how writing was as good as in Dispatches. After reading Grant's Dispatches from Pluto, I had high hopes for this book, and couldn't wait to start it, but I was quite disappointed. I thought the book would center more around contemporary experiences, which it did to some degree, but it was VERY heavy on 1800s US history, which is not my cup of tea, and I didn't think how writing was as good as in Dispatches.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Awdry

    I wasn't too keen when I started reading this book and saw that it was about the tales of a disenchanted London journalist trying to "find himself" in America, but I was wrong. I had not expected the amount of research and the level of detail that Grant would go into to make this, not only a personal account of his travels around the wilds of the USA, but also the history of those "colonisers" who had gone before him. My reading list has expanded enormously as a result and I was really pleased an I wasn't too keen when I started reading this book and saw that it was about the tales of a disenchanted London journalist trying to "find himself" in America, but I was wrong. I had not expected the amount of research and the level of detail that Grant would go into to make this, not only a personal account of his travels around the wilds of the USA, but also the history of those "colonisers" who had gone before him. My reading list has expanded enormously as a result and I was really pleased and impressed with his coverage of topics which many people would shy away from. I felt like I learnt a great deal about the European history of the continent and thought, with my limited knowledge in this area, that he did a great job of keeping this unbiased. He was not scared to state things as they were in regards to the relationship between the native Americans and the incomers - both from a negative sense (which we mainly hear about) but also the positive tales of people who fully integrated into the society already in place and wanted to learn from these masters of the land. It was also fascinating to see some of the primary sources which he used in his research where they remain some of the only evidence of tribes who are sadly no longer here. The way that Grant coupled each time period with a general geographic or psychological area to then move smoothly into his own personal experiences was cleverly done, although at times felt trite. I also thought that although his historical accounts appeared untarnished by bias, I felt he was being unfair to some of the people he had encountered on his travels and was making assumptions about them, their beliefs, and their way of life.... although I haven't met them, so he may have been absolutely accurate in this portrayal! I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in travel literature, but would also recommend it to those who are interested in reading about the lesser publicised side of history as this is absolutely what swept me in.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Liam

    "The road is America's preeminent symbol of freedom, and this is understood by consumers of American culture all over the world." (5) "In London, I would not have reacted to a relationship breakup by walking out to the highway and raising my thumb. These restless, roaming urges, this ache for the balm of motion: it was something that happened to me in America..." (25) "The wold had the keenest senses and was the most difficult to stalk. The grizzly bear was the most dangerous and thrilling. After "The road is America's preeminent symbol of freedom, and this is understood by consumers of American culture all over the world." (5) "In London, I would not have reacted to a relationship breakup by walking out to the highway and raising my thumb. These restless, roaming urges, this ache for the balm of motion: it was something that happened to me in America..." (25) "The wold had the keenest senses and was the most difficult to stalk. The grizzly bear was the most dangerous and thrilling. After their final defeat, bored and cooped up on the reservations, a brief craze developed among young Apache men for 'bear slapping.' The idea was to stalk a grizzly bear, slap it across the ass as hard as you could, and then run up a stout tree before it killed you." (94) "In northern Britain, before they got to Ireland, the border Presbyterians had been known as 'crackers' (loutish braggarts) and 'rednecks' (fiery religious dissenters). These pejorative terms crossed the Atlantic with them and are still used to describe their present-day descendants." (121) "There have been some valiant attempts -- Edward Abbey on the American Southwest, Paul Bowles writing about the Sahara, Wilfred Thesiger in Arabian Sands -- but the literature of deserts is essentially a failure. One becomes familiar with a grasping tone, a tacit admission of defeat (often signposted by flinging more and more purple prose at the problem, like Everett Ruess), and herein lies the appeal of deserts for those who love them. They defy our language, written and visual." (306)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    This book was a mixed bag. Some of it I found very intriguing, and other parts were a chore to get through. What was most eye-opening were the author's forays into the sub-cultures that make up nomads in America: the hobos, the Rainbows, the Freight Train Riders of America (FTRA), and the RVers, to name a few. The author goes back in time to the original explorers and nomads such as Cabeza de Vaca, Joe Walker, Coronado, the Comanches, and more historic nomads. It was enlightening (and disturbing This book was a mixed bag. Some of it I found very intriguing, and other parts were a chore to get through. What was most eye-opening were the author's forays into the sub-cultures that make up nomads in America: the hobos, the Rainbows, the Freight Train Riders of America (FTRA), and the RVers, to name a few. The author goes back in time to the original explorers and nomads such as Cabeza de Vaca, Joe Walker, Coronado, the Comanches, and more historic nomads. It was enlightening (and disturbing) to read of the dark underbelly of American nomadism, the people who choose to live off the grid, who barely survive moving from place to place, for whatever reason, mainly because they can't abide the sedentary life and all that it entails: paying taxes, owning property, etc. Sadly, I know someone who seems to be drawn by this type of life to such a degree that I can envision him in the same sad straits as many of the characters encountered in this book. Enlightening, disheartening, disturbing. I often think of myself as a nomad, but never to this degree. I think there are those of us drawn to the nomadic life who also like to have a sedentary life, and to go back and forth. Those people are not considered much in this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    CURTIS NUGENT

    First of all... I love Richard Grant's writing. If you have not read any of his other books like "Dispatches from Pluto" or "God's Middle Finger" you should! But, back to "American Nomads". Grand is a UK citizen living in the US and he has a fascination for the American traveler. Americans are born travelers. After all, most European immigrants left their home and crossed at least one ocean to get here. Once they got here they kept going to until they reached another ocean. European immigrants we First of all... I love Richard Grant's writing. If you have not read any of his other books like "Dispatches from Pluto" or "God's Middle Finger" you should! But, back to "American Nomads". Grand is a UK citizen living in the US and he has a fascination for the American traveler. Americans are born travelers. After all, most European immigrants left their home and crossed at least one ocean to get here. Once they got here they kept going to until they reached another ocean. European immigrants weren't he only nomads. Most all Native American tribes and clans were nomadic. Warning: If you believe the PC version that all Native Americans were noble native environmentalists you may be put off by Grant's observations. He describes how Native Americans were nomadic because they often exhausted the resources of their location or moved in search of slaves from neighboring tribes. After discussing early Spanish expeditions and Native Americans, Grant brings us to modern American nomads. He travelled with rodeo cownboys, freight train hoppers, truckers and elderly RVers. Grant's observations are interesting and he presents views that I have not considered. Recommended!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Adrian Fingleton

    I picked up this book in a second-hand bookshop, and I guess I expected it would be along the lines of the recent movie Nomadland - travels through an America where dispossessed people like in their RVs and travel in search of work. However this book was written in 2003 and precedes that era. It's also very interesting and informative, in the way that it goes way back to the first 'nomads' who traversed America, mostly in the area of the Southwest. There are modern chapters too, focused on 'hipp I picked up this book in a second-hand bookshop, and I guess I expected it would be along the lines of the recent movie Nomadland - travels through an America where dispossessed people like in their RVs and travel in search of work. However this book was written in 2003 and precedes that era. It's also very interesting and informative, in the way that it goes way back to the first 'nomads' who traversed America, mostly in the area of the Southwest. There are modern chapters too, focused on 'hippies', rodeo riders, older retirees 'on the road' and so on. And underpinning all this is the author's own rootlessness and yen to travel and experience wild places. So it's a bigger book than I anticipated, and all the better for that. I think the allusions to history and the native American tribes of the Southwest enrich the narrative, and it definitely made me want to see the American Southwest for myself - albeit probably not while sleeping out in the desert with the rattlesnakes. A really good read, both informative and escapist.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Julian Edge

    I enjoyed all the parts of this book — the historical, the apocryphal, the reportage and the reflections. I have this slight (and perhaps unfair) feeling of disappointment that those elements didn't (for me) all gel into the book that this might have been. It drifts at times and sometimes becomes repetitive. My response has doubtless been influenced by coming to this title after the same author's Dispatches from Pluto, which I found to be more of an integrated success. But they are both very wel I enjoyed all the parts of this book — the historical, the apocryphal, the reportage and the reflections. I have this slight (and perhaps unfair) feeling of disappointment that those elements didn't (for me) all gel into the book that this might have been. It drifts at times and sometimes becomes repetitive. My response has doubtless been influenced by coming to this title after the same author's Dispatches from Pluto, which I found to be more of an integrated success. But they are both very well written and insightful. Recommended for all who wish they were in the States more often than they are.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Russell Irving

    A friend gave me his much loved copy with a 'must read' rave for all books by Richard Grant. Once I made a start I couldn't put it down and immediately went out to buy his other books. He brings an outsiders unbiased view to the American psyche with a typical British wit, very similar to Bill Bryson. I loved the focus given to the American Indian tribes and learnt so much about their history and the impact of colonisation. The author then proceeds to introduce a range of outcasts and misfits unde A friend gave me his much loved copy with a 'must read' rave for all books by Richard Grant. Once I made a start I couldn't put it down and immediately went out to buy his other books. He brings an outsiders unbiased view to the American psyche with a typical British wit, very similar to Bill Bryson. I loved the focus given to the American Indian tribes and learnt so much about their history and the impact of colonisation. The author then proceeds to introduce a range of outcasts and misfits under the loose banner of 'nomad' as a reminder that there are many varied, interesting and valid ways to live our lives. Highly recommended

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bob Lorentson

    I like this style of immersion journalism, in this case covering real time, historical, and anecdotal accounts of American wanderers and nomads - off-the gridders, truckers, mountain men and rendezvous types, cowboys, native Americans, hippies, and RVers. Bruce Chatwin theorized that people are compelled to wander because we evolved as a migratory species, and that all the ills of our societies stem from the repression of this basic human instinct. Truckers in the southwest say you know you're o I like this style of immersion journalism, in this case covering real time, historical, and anecdotal accounts of American wanderers and nomads - off-the gridders, truckers, mountain men and rendezvous types, cowboys, native Americans, hippies, and RVers. Bruce Chatwin theorized that people are compelled to wander because we evolved as a migratory species, and that all the ills of our societies stem from the repression of this basic human instinct. Truckers in the southwest say you know you're overtired when you start seeing the giant jackrabbits in your peripheral vision.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ghojuh Singh

    Really amazing look into western nomadic, semi-nomadic and sedentary life in America. Filled with tons of cool history that I was never taught in school (thanks school system!!) I'd highly recommend it if you're interested in learning about nomads, drifters, vagrants, history of the united states and the history of the west. Really amazing look into western nomadic, semi-nomadic and sedentary life in America. Filled with tons of cool history that I was never taught in school (thanks school system!!) I'd highly recommend it if you're interested in learning about nomads, drifters, vagrants, history of the united states and the history of the west.

  21. 4 out of 5

    John

    An exceptional book about America, the early Explorers who weren't looking to discover new land but escape from the land already populated, and how that lifestyle still exists today - https://johnrieber.com/2019/03/06/ame... An exceptional book about America, the early Explorers who weren't looking to discover new land but escape from the land already populated, and how that lifestyle still exists today - https://johnrieber.com/2019/03/06/ame...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Phillip

    A good book, well worth the read ... well and interestingly written. English author who moved to the States and he gives a very good early history of Indian and early settlers moving west. he links the 'nomadic' existence of the Indian tribes and earlier explorers with todays 'nomads'. IMO book could have been a bit shorter? A good book, well worth the read ... well and interestingly written. English author who moved to the States and he gives a very good early history of Indian and early settlers moving west. he links the 'nomadic' existence of the Indian tribes and earlier explorers with todays 'nomads'. IMO book could have been a bit shorter?

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    I read this years ago and remember liking it. Unlike Jessica Bruder's book which takes a look at contemporary nomads, Grant looks throughout American history starting with the Native Americans and on up through the years. He does end with a chapter about retirees in RVs. More lighthearted than Nomadland by Bruder I read this years ago and remember liking it. Unlike Jessica Bruder's book which takes a look at contemporary nomads, Grant looks throughout American history starting with the Native Americans and on up through the years. He does end with a chapter about retirees in RVs. More lighthearted than Nomadland by Bruder

  24. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Very intriguing, want to read more by Grant. He does a really good job of bringing in historical events that parallel current ones. The only complaint I have is some chapters are very dense, lots there and a little hard to get through. Still great reading.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andrée

    Oh to live in a country that big (with perfect health since the founding fathers forgot to include any health rights) .....no doubt things have changed since it was written but it made me want to hit the road Jackie

  26. 4 out of 5

    M Hewitt

    Hard NOT to finish Pretty long drawn out but once I'd started, I simply had to finish it. Very interesting tales and a lot - maybe a bit too much - historical references. Having said that, probably the best account of Joe Walker's adventures without going over the top. Hard NOT to finish Pretty long drawn out but once I'd started, I simply had to finish it. Very interesting tales and a lot - maybe a bit too much - historical references. Having said that, probably the best account of Joe Walker's adventures without going over the top.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Steve Bera

    I believe this is the oldest of the authors books. Many of the story lines are repeated in later books. Still enough new information to justify reading. Just not stellar.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Oliver

    Intresting journey through the various worlds of american nomadic groups over the country's history Intresting journey through the various worlds of american nomadic groups over the country's history

  29. 5 out of 5

    Will-I-AM Creith

    Wow what a journey !! From source to sea this has it all. Laughs, cry’s, life and death. Took balls to do what Richard did. I’m jealous of his adventure.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bean

    Interesting, a lot of history about the southwestern part of North America prior to it being settled. A well written book that makes you want to hit the road less travelled.

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