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The Big Roads (Digital Audiobook)

The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways

By Earl Swift, Rob Shapiro (Narrator)

Publication Date: December 11, 2011

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (9/18/2012)
Hardcover (6/9/2011)
MP3 CD (12/12/2011)
Compact Disc (12/12/2011)
Compact Disc (12/12/2011)

Description

A man-made wonder, a connective network, an economic force, a bringer of blight and sprawl and the possibility of escape—the U.S. interstate system transformed America. The Big Roads presents the surprising history of how we got from dirt tracks to expressways in the space of a single lifetime.

Earl Swift brings to light the visionaries who created these essential highways as well as the critics and citizens who questioned their headlong expansion throughout the country, including:

  • Carl Fisher, the irrepressible car-racing entrepreneur who spurred the push for good roads in the early years of the automobile, built the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and made a fortune creating Miami Beach, only to lose it all;
  • Thomas MacDonald, chief among a handful of driven engineers who conceived of the interstates and how they would work, years before President Eisenhower knew the plans existed;
  • Lewis Mumford, the critic whose crusade against America's budding love affair with the automobile—and the ever bigger roads it required—now seems prescient;
  • Joe Wiles, an African American family man turned activist, one of thousands of ordinary citizens in dozens of cities who found their homes and communities targeted by the concrete juggernaut—and were unwilling to be uprooted in the name of progress.
In mapping a fascinating route through the dreams, discoveries, and protests that shaped these mighty roads, Swift shows that the interstates embody the wanderlust, grand scale, and conflicting notions of citizenship that define America.


About the Author

Rob Shapiro got his professional start as an entertainer doing stand-up in Minneapolis while still in high school (the Children's Theatre Company & School of Minneapolis). As a voice-over artist, he can be heard narrating such audiobooks as the bestselling The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick, Frank: The Voice by James Kaplan, and the fantasy noir Low Town by Daniel Polansky. He performed several seasons of radio comedy on Minneapolis Public Radio and voiced the titular lion in Leo the Lion. Rob is also a musician and composer; with his critically acclaimed band, Populuxe, he has released two CDs-A Foggy Day in Brooklyn and Deep in an American Evening . . .-and the EP, Daphne. He is one half of the Velvet Collar, who released their first record, Double Standard, an unlikely collection of cover songs by the Stooges, Hoagy Carmichael, and the Gershwin Brothers, among others, in 2011. Finally, Rob is a business consultant and software system designer, specializing in desktop publishing and workflow efficiency, with clients and implemented systems spanning the globe.