OPEN ROAD: Truckin' on the Biting Edge by Axel Madsen

OPEN ROAD: Truckin' on the Biting Edge

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A journalist hodgepodge about the trucking business--as Madsen mixes a fair amount of flat but solid information with limply dramatized vignettes from trucker-life. Among the topics covered: the longtime, escalating tensions between independent truckers and the Teamster-connected companies; the pros and cons of arbitrary, diverse state regulations; highway conditions and highway accidents (""Trucks get blamed for all highway woes""); the 55 mph law and speed traps; the effects of deregulation (""To give the debate some dimension, let's invent a carrier and kick around some figures""); loading and unloading abuses (""lumping""); the Motor Carrier Act of 1980; truckstops, prostitutes, trucker-oriented radio shows, truck-racing, and crime and drugs on the road. Madsen does a workmanlike job with each subject. But his erratic attempts at trucker-lingo prose don't enliven the discussions; he gives no shape or focus to the material; and the sporadic appearances of a long-haul trucker team (Chuck ""Junior"" Carlton and ""lady trucker"" Karen Long) fail to provide either a workable frame or a convincing personal dimension, especially since the quasi-fictional treatment often lapses into embarrassing banalities. (""He had a feeling that she was running on empty, emotionally, but that she was still in touch with the more tender aspects of man-woman relationships."") Adequate, then, as a fragmented, repetitious update on the increasingly volatile facts and figures of trucking--but spotty and ineffectual as an evocation of the trucker lifestyle.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich