Back Roads and Better Angels: A Journey into the Heart of American Democracy (Hardcover)

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Back Roads and Better Angels: A Journey into the Heart of American Democracy (Hardcover)

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“Enlightening and inspiring.”  — Walter Isaacson

“Barry probes the American soul, finding its biases, but also, nurtured by its complicated past, our better angels — with an opportunity to move forward.”  — Ken Burns

Bringing together two of America’s unifying loves — road trips and Abraham Lincoln — Frank Barry takes readers on a thought-provoking journey into the heart of our democracy and the soul of our country


A year into his marriage and having never driven an RV, Frank and his wife Laurel set out from New York City in a Winnebago to drive the nation’s first transcontinental route, the Lincoln Highway, which zigzags through small towns and big cities from Times Square to San Francisco.

Using the spirit of Abraham Lincoln to guide them across the land, they hope to see more clearly what holds the country together — and how we can keep it together, even amidst political divisions have grown increasingly rancorous, bitter, and exhausting.

Along the way, Frank and Laurel meet Americans whose personal experiences help humanize the nation’s divisions, and they encounter historical figures and events whose legacies are still shaping our sense of national identity and the struggles over it.

This unforgettable journey is full of what makes any great road trip memorable and enjoyable: music, conversation, and laughter. By the end, readers will have a clearer picture of how we have arrived at a period that carries echoes of the Civil War era, and — using Lincoln as a guide — where the path forward lies.
Francis S. Barry is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist and member of the editorial board covering national affairs. He served as chief speechwriter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg during the 2020 presidential campaign and in New York's City Hall, where he also helped lead a variety of government and election reform initiatives. He is the author of The Scandal of Reform and holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame and New York University.
Product Details ISBN: 9781586423889
ISBN-10: 1586423886
Publisher: Steerforth
Publication Date: June 4th, 2024
Pages: 560
Language: English
“Enlightening and inspiring.”Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times best-selling biographer

“This book ought to be read by Democrats, Republicans, and independents — and I should know, since I've been all three. It's for all of us who want to put the ‘united’ back in the United States of America.” — Michael R. Bloomberg
 
“Barry probes the American soul, finding its biases, but also, nurtured by its complicated past, our better angels — with an opportunity to move forward.” — Ken Burns
 
“For a road trip across the country’s political divisions, there’s no better guide than an Indiana kid, Abe Lincoln — and the songs of America. This book helps us hear both — and those mystic chords we need to recapture — more clearly.” — John Mellencamp
 
“It is a joy to hit the road with Frank Barry. With erudition, humor and a deep love of country, he offers a fascinating trip into the heart of our history.” — Ted Widmer, author of Lincoln on the Verge
 
“In the traditions of Blue Highways and Confederates in the Attic, Back Roads and Better Angels — by turns elegiac and hopeful — is required reading in a season when the clouds still have yet to lift from over our democracy.” — Kevin Baker, author of The New York Game

“Barry is an amiable tour guide, inserting comic interludes and personal commentary to buffer unflinching descriptions of everything from colonization to the Civil War to the pandemic and 2020 election.” — Booklist

“Fans of road trips, blue highways, and backwater Americana will enjoy traveling vicariously with the author.” — Kirkus Reviews