Horatio's Drive by Dayton Duncan
America's First Road Trip

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The companion volume to the PBS documentary film about the first—and perhaps most astonishing—automobile trip across the United States.

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 thirty-one-year-old Vermont doctor, who impulsively bet fifty dollars that he could drive his 20-horsepower automobile from San Francisco to New York City. Here—in Jackson’s own words and photographs—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 Jackson’s previously unpublished letters to his wife, brimming with optimism against all odds, describe in vivid detail every detour, every flat tire, every adventure good and bad. And his nearly one hundred photographs show 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.

With 146 illustrations and 1 map

About Dayton Duncan

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Dayton Duncan, writer and producer of Horatio’s Drive, is the author of seven other books about American history, including Out West: A Journey Through Lewis and Clark’s America, in which he retraced the route of the expedition. He has been involved with Ken Burns’s documentaries for more than a decade. He and Burns are now collaborating on a major documentary series about our national parks. He lives in Walpole, New Hampshire. Ken Burns, director and producer of Horatio’s Drive, has been making award-winning documentary films for more than twenty years. He was director of the landmark PBS series The Civil War, Baseball, and Jazz and executive producer of The West. His other films include the Academy Award–nominated Brooklyn Bridge, The Statue of Liberty (also nominated for an Oscar), Lewis & Clark, and Mark Twain. His next documentary will be a biography of the prizefighter Jack Johnson. He lives in Walpole, New Hampshire.
Published July 8, 2003 by Knopf. 192 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Horatio's Drive

Publishers Weekly

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(Meanwhile, other, corporate-backed aspirants to the distinction of being first across the country were hot on their heels.) Hardly anybody they encountered had ever seen an automobile before, so the men repeatedly became local heroes before becoming celebrities on a national scale.

| Read Full Review of Horatio's Drive: America's Fi...

News Review.

A companion to film documentarian Ken Burns’ upcoming (in October) PBS opus, this book gives a compelling, succinct and nicely illustrated account of the first automobile journey from coast to coast across the United States.

Aug 14 2003 | Read Full Review of Horatio's Drive: America's Fi...

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