ROUTE 66: The Highway and Its People by Susan Croce Kelly

ROUTE 66: The Highway and Its People

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Get Your Kicks on Route 66,"" goes the famous song. But 66 disappeared in the 1980's, a victim of the interstate highway system, so readers will have to get their kicks from this rewarding blend of photos and text documenting the birth, high life, and death of America's most famous road. Kelly's text relies heavily on oral history, recording the voices of the men and women who pioneered Route 66 by laying its foundations, cruising its pavement, building its stores and service stations and motels. The road began with Cy Avery, an ""early visionary"" from Oklahoma who dreamed of a path stretching from the shore of Lake Michigan to the shore of the Pacific. At first, much of the road was mud, dust, sand, or dirt--but even then, Route 66 was home for fabulous events like the 1928 Transcontinental Footrace, in which 275 runners staggered from Los Angeles to New York. In the Dust Bowl era, the nation moved west on 66; after WW II, the nation grew fat on 66, as businesses--and the advertising hoopla surrounding them--mushroomed. Kelly's pleasant, informative text, and the raspy voices she captures, are echoed by Quinta Scott's collection of spare, dramatic black-and-white images, mostly of storefronts and weather-beaten faces, showing the fading life of Route 66 during the past decade. A worthy shrine to a lost bit of America--the macadam umbilical cord that gave birth to the dreams of millions of tourists, itinerants, and pioneers.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1988
Publisher: Univ. of Oklahoma Press