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The Road is Yours Reginald M. Cleveland
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The Road Is Yours: 06/21/18

The Road Is Yours

The Road Is Yours by Reginald M. Cleveland is a history of the early days of the American automobile industry and the highway system it spawned. My recent read of this book was actually a re-read, a revisiting of one of the books I first read as a graduate student trying to plan out a PhD thesis topic.

Back then my focus and approach were both different. My focus was on road films more than road narratives, with my emphasis being on the semantics of the road and how the signs, markings, and other pieces of the American highway system we take in as part of our driving experience could be used to construct the narrative of the American road film. At the time, 1995 to 1997, the internet as we know it was a very new thing and Google didn't exist. So finding books on topic was more a matter of casting a wide net to see what useful tidbits one would find.

Now in 2018 my focus being on books more so than films or television and more on specific motifs and tropes than on the semantic interplay between the real world and the narrative process. Also with the internet and Google and World Cat, among other online tools, I don't feel as compelled to read everything that might be vaguely relevant to my topic. Also, my focus has narrowed too.

Let me be upfront and say going into this re-read, I knew the book was no longer on topic. I read it strictly for nostalgia sake even though the book is decidedly out of date — or rather, the story of the great American highway ends at the close of WWII.

What this book has that few others covering the same topic have, is coverage of the many different brands and models of automobiles that didn't end up coalescing into the major manufactures we know today. Besides having descriptions, it also has pages and pages of photographs of these long forgotten cars.

Three stars

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