March 3, 2012

"American Nomads" by Grant

I just started reading American Nomads: travels with lost conquistadors, mountain men, cowboys, Indians, hobos, truckers, and bull riders by Richard Grant. I was hooked by the first paragraph of the prologue.
"Looking back at my own American wanderings, they seem to flow together as one; memories strung out on a single cord of highway, fourteen years long and headed nowhere in particular. I like to think I have tasted freedom, but I also recognize the signs and snares of addiction. After a while, wandering generates its own momentum, it’s own set of cravings, phobias and justifications. I like to think of it as an adventure, a perpetual seeking out of new horizons and experiences, but like to many endeavors of this kind, it has also been an act of flight – away from a point in space and time, away from routines and responsibilities, away from a state of mind. And when it began, escape was my only concern."
Sounds pretty awesome, right? Yea, I'm pretty excited about reading it.

You might remember that I have been studying the mobile community in school this semester. It's an independent study I made up and one of my favorite professors (ok, my absolute favorite) is supervising. He's letting me go nuts, researching the history of American nomads and how much the concept has changed over the years. One of my biggest troubles has been naming us. I know, you're thinking that of all the research issues that should not be my biggest obstacle, but it's harder than you might think.

At the beginning of his book Grant tells an anecdote about a Tibetan monk visiting America. After looking over the mountains and the rivers and being reminded of his own land he asks "who are your nomads?" American nomads have many titles, as the bi line of his book implies, and neither they nor greater society can agree on one. That means any info about the group (groups?) is spread over acres of county records, books, police reports, and blogs. oh well, it's all going to pay off in the end. Stay tuned: I'll let you know how the book turns out.


  1. Hi sAsh, I really enjoyed this book, I hope you do too and I am waiting for your review of it...

  2. The BBC special that book is based on is really well made. Watch it after you finish reading the book.

    1. I just found that on You Tube! Very exciting. And I guess he also have another book. I need to finish this one and stop getting ahead of myself...


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