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The long haul : a trucker's tales of life on the road
2017
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Trade Reviews

  New York Times Review

DEMOCRACY IN CHAINS: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America, by Nancy MacLean. (Penguin, $18.) MacLean sketches out the six-decade push to protect the wealthy elite from the will of the majority. The architect of this plan was James McGill Buchanan, a political economist who, starting in the mid-1900s, devoted his career to paving the way for a right-wing social movement. BLACK MAD WHEEL, by Josh Malerman. (Ecco/HarperCollins, $15.99.) A rock 'n' roll band, the Danes, is approached by a top military official to help identify a mysterious, but potent, noise: The sound seems able to neutralize any kind of weapon, and even make people disappear. As the story goes to the African desert and beyond, the novel "takes flight in some head-splitting metaphysical directions," Terrence Rafferty wrote here. THE WORLD BROKE IN TWO: Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster, and the Year That Changed Literature, by Bill Goldstein. (Picador, $18.) The year 1922 was pivotal for these modernists. Goldstein makes good use of their correspondence and published material to outline each writer's development and creative blocks, and how their work fit into a broader postwar movement. MOVING KINGS, by Joshua Cohen. (Random House, $17.) David King is a heavyweight in the moving industry in New York, the patriotic, Republican and wealthy owner of a well-known storage company. In a moment of nostalgia, he invites his distant cousin Yoav, fresh from service in Israel's military, to work for him, carrying out the business's ugly side - evicting delinquent tenants and seizing their possessions. The novel and its tensions promise some thematic heft, touching on race, occupation, gentrification and who deserves the right to a home. THE LONG HAUL: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road, by Finn Murphy. (Norton, $16.95.) Murphy has logged hundreds of thousands of miles and decades on the road, but may be an unlikely representative: He falls asleep reading Jane Austen in motels and nurtures a crush on Terry Gross, "probably because I've spent more time with her than anyone else in my life." SUNBURN, by Laura Lippman. (Morrow/HarperCollins, $16.99.) In a sleepy Delaware town, two newcomers - a waitress running from her past and a short-order cook - fall in love, though the two are not what they claim to be. Set in 1995, this novel has an undertow of 1940s noir, but with more heart than you might expect. As our reviewer, Harriet Lane, wrote: "You see the huge red sun sinking into the cornfields; you feel the dew underfoot."

  Publishers Weekly Review

Murphy recounts some of his more curious, amusing, and private moments as a lifer in the long-haul moving business. During his career he has driven across the country innumerable times in large trucks, loading and unloading people's lives; through these adventures, he shares the trade lingo ("bed bug hauler" is trucker lingo for a mover like him), secrets (movers could care less about people's stuff), and challenges (exactly how you back a truck down a winding, narrow road). Campbell's genial and scratchy voice perfectly matches the tone of Murphy's prose and Murphy's demographic. Campbell is also able to tease out the more emotionally tense moments, projecting the anger and frustration when Murphy confronts his boss or relaying the tenderness the author feels towards a companion he picks up on the side of the road. It's the perfect audiobook for a long drive. A Norton hardcover. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  School Library Journal Review

Working at the gas station in high school, Murphy idolized the guys at the moving company next door. Directionless and smoking too much pot, he dropped out of college to drive for the company full-time, specializing in long-distance moves. A few decades later, he now moves high-end corporate clients and has stories to tell. Readers may wonder if some of the details have been embellished over the years, but considering Murphy's engaging style and ability to laugh at himself, the occasional big fish isn't distracting. The author's years of observing every corner of the United States and untangling the reality from the legends give this inviting book weight. Murphy has traversed the nation again and again and spent miles pondering the hollowing of cities, the "silence and vastness" of the Everglades' Alligator Alley, the mythos of the cowboy trucker, and trucking's changing racial makeup. VERDICT For fans of thought-provoking road trip tales.-Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington Public Library, Arlington, VA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Summary
More than thirty years ago, Finn Murphy dropped out of college to become a long-haul trucker. Since then he's covered more than a million miles packing, loading, and hauling people's belongings all over America. Known by his trucker handle as U-Turn, he spends his days (and many of his nights) in a 53-foot eighteen-wheeler he calls Cassidy.In The Long Haul, Murphy offers a trucker's-eye view of America on the move. Going far beyond the myth of the American road trip, he whisks readers down the I-95 Powerlane, across the Florida Everglades, in and out of the truck stops of the Midwest, and through the steep grades of the Rocky Mountains. As he crisscrosses the country, Murphy recounts with wit, candor, and charm the America he has seen change over the decades, from the hollowing-out of small towns to changing tastes in culture and home furnishings.Some 40 million Americans move each year, and very few have any idea what they're getting into or the kind of person to whom they are relinquishing their worldly goods. The Long Haul is also a behind-the-scenes look at the moving industry, revealing what really happens when we call in "the movers."Through it all, Murphy tells poignant, funny, and often haunting stories of the people he encounters on the job: a feisty hoarder in New Hampshire; a Virginia homeowner raging when Murphy's truck accidentally runs down a stand of trees; an ex-banker in Colorado who treats Finn and his crew with undisguised contempt; a widow who needs Murphy to bring her archeologist husband's remains and relics to a Navajo burial ceremony in New Mexico. These experiences inspire Finn's memorable reflections on work, class, and the bonds we form with the things we own and the places we live.Brimming with personality and filled with great characters, The Long Haul is a resonant portrait of the enduring appeal of manual labor in the dark underbelly of the American Dream.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. xi
Part IThe Truck
Chapter 1Punching Inp. 3
Chapter 2Road Warriorsp. 17
Chapter 3Tenderfootp. 39
Part IIThe Powerlane
Chapter 4Hammer Downp. 51
Chapter 5Seven Shippersp. 67
Chapter 6The Pot of Goldp. 83
Part IIIThe Big Slab
Chapter 7Back on the Roadp. 111
Chapter 8Here Come the Moversp. 127
Chapter 9Invisible Menp. 153
Chapter 10Baby Grandp. 163
Chapter 11Waiting Timep. 175
Chapter 12Paradisep. 191
Chapter 13The Great White Moverp. 199
Epiloguep. 223
Acknowledgmentsp. 231
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