Coster, a British journalist, novelist (Train, Train, not reviewed), and former editor of Granta, wondered what it would be like to be a long-distance trucker, so he took to the roads of Europe and America. When a writer says, ``I . . . even like motorway service stations,'' you know you are in the hands of an amiable nut. Coster fits that description to a fare-thee-well, and his book is a delightful combination of travel, sociology, and humor, a trucker's tour of the roads between London and Moscow, New York and California. ``Almost everything that we need, everything we use, goes for some part of its journey by road, on a large truck,'' Coster writes at the outset of the book. In his first trip, he and Tony, a British driver, transport fine wines and Baskin Robbins ice cream to a wintry Moscow (the journey's description includes a disquisition on why Snickers bars are the perfect trucker's breakfast). Even the parts of which the trucks themselves are made, as he learns in his westward journey through America, are carried by trucks. Coster is a keenly observant traveler, self-deprecating and clever. Whether he is characterizing the powerful air brakes that give ``an 11-ton truck a shorter stopping distance than a family car'' or trying to determine why country music goes so well with the trucker's life (the rhythms, mellower than those of rock 'n' roll, accord with life on the road), he is both insightful and funny. He even includes a discography. Chapters on truck-driving school (he fails) and truck racing (yes, truck racing) add flavor to his tales of the road. Above all, Coster takes these working stiffs seriously on their own terms, without condescension and with considerable sympathy. Both the author and his subjects emerge as likable guys. A splendidly funny and intelligent piece of travel writing.