ON THE ROAD WITH CHARLES KURALT by Charles Kuralt

ON THE ROAD WITH CHARLES KURALT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

More printed outtakes from Kuralt's televised poking into America's folksy nooks and crannies and the good folk who inhabit therein. Self-deprecating (""On the Road, there's an advantage to being fat and bald""), unabashedly sentimental, and avidly open to the crackpot dreams and schemes of a lovingly assembled hoard (92 in this latest collection) of off-the-beaten-track Americans, Kuralt just gets 'em to talking; the results can have you laughing one minute, daubing a tear the next. Continuing on the track of Dateline: America (1979) Kuralt here mixes in bits of altruistic endeavor (the doctor who charges only what his patients can pay him; the man who decided that a road was needed between Duluth and Fargo, then spent 25 years building 13 miles of it; the people of North Platte who fed and entertained maybe 8 million GIs during WW II--their war effort); singular fixations (the farmer who, saving twine for 50 years, finds himself with a 13-foot-high ball of it (""you don't have to be crazy, but it helps""); another farmer from Iowa who built an oceangoing steel yacht in his barnyard: and nostalgia for an America that is passing from the scene, an America of maple sugaring, blacksmithing, craftsmanship, and a hard-rock idealism that doesn't traffic with pragmatism or compromise. Most reporters try to distance thenmselves from their subjects, but Kuralt will have none of that; he's, if not in love with them, then clearly taken by these against-the-grainers (codgers in another age) and their engaging eccentricities. They seem, for the most part, old-timers (""Old people are more interesting than young people. Most storytelling is remembrance, and young people don't have anything to remember yet""), and he treats them with affectionate, sometimes wry, respect. But collected over a period of years, these sentimental vignettes frequently cry out for epilogic treatment: what happened to them and their dreams? In sum, a loving vision of America. Who cares if it's a rerun?

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1985
ISBN: 0449007405
Publisher: Putnam