Born and raised in Colorado, Eric Peterson started traveling as a newborn child on his way back from the hospital. Numerous family road trips ensued, often with comedic effect.
Eric started writing when he was four, covering such stories as an anthropomorphic hammer fighting similarly humanoid nails and a bipedal polka-dotted gator-like creature named Erg.
He first got paid to write in his early twenties when he landed a freelance gig on a Frommer's book. That was 1995. As of 2010, Eric has written dozens of travel guides, mostly Frommer's titles, as well as his own Ramble Guides series of books: Ramble: A Field Guide to the U.S.A. (2006), Ramble Colorado (2008), Ramble California (2009), and Ramble Texas (2010).
Eric has also written for numerous magazines and newspapers during his career, including the Denver Post, Westword, the New York Daily News, United Hemispheres, Delta Sky, ColoradoBiz, Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, and Nintendo Power. Check out www.rambleguides.com for more of all things Eric Peterson.
You can probably fill a bookcase or two with books like this. They pop-up in tourist souvenir shops everywhere, aimed at a general readership and most of them are easily forgotten. I bought this one mainly because of the large size though as another reviewer has rightly said the photo quality, overall, is average and I can add to this by saying the page design is bland and predictable.
However I think there are good points, the coverage is rather comprehensive, from the Hollywood sign, Randy's Donuts in Inglewood, Los Angeles, Haines Shoe House, York, Pennsylvania to the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas. These are all sort of national treasures and there are plenty more in the book, as large photos, too. Americana in the title helps define what should be included though that also raises the question: just how tacky and temporary can a structure be before it's not worth including, fortunately not too many here fall into that category.
"Roadside Americana" consists of just under 200 images that record a slice of American history related to automobile travel, and almost anyone with experience in long-distance road trips will be familiar with a few of the roadside attractions depicted. From a curiosity standpoint, the subjects are fun and intriguing, and likely to evoke a chuckle or two; however, considering photographic quality, the range is all over the board: first-rate professional to downright amateurish. It's the latter characterization that brought about a bit of disappointment.
The best examples I've seen of Americana imagery of this type come from a photographer named John Margolies, who possesses the professionalism and diligence to capture countless roadside oddities using the best angle and optimum light. He is serious about the latter criterion, as one of his trademarks is to insist on having a blue sky as a background for his subject matter. Unfortunately, no Margolies photos appear in this book (he's published many of his own, and Smithsonian magazine featured him back in November 1988).
What you get are nearly 200 images, almost all color, ranging in size from 3"x4" to nearly a whole page. I'd say about 60 percent of them are of excellent artistic quality: good color, lighting and exposure. John Elk III, Jack Olson Photography and Nick Wheeler Photography are a few examples of those that contributed noteworthy ones. Much of the remaining 40 percent are marred by photographic let-downs, such as poor framing, odd perspectives, unfortunate lighting (e.g., pesky shadows or a washed-out sky) and even sloppy focusing. Each photo has an accompanying caption which gives a history of the object in a few sentences.Read more ›
Nice coffee table book to thumb through, although I confess to reading the whole thing cover to cover. I really enjoyed looking at the weird stuff each town comes up with. I mean most of us have see the giant lumber jack, but giant corn? When I was a kid, my dad refused to stop and look at these, as he thought they were too corny, but I still like them. The book is 12 by 12 in size, close to 200 photos spread over 128 pages. The book explains the history of the roadside attraction, especially anything that has been built to giant size. The picnic basket on the cover is an office building by the way. It is broken into easy to find categories. The photos were satisfactory, and the text was informative. I have a couple of books on this subject, and I think this is my favorite.
This is a great book that inspires you to want to go on a road trip in our country. There is so much fun and whimsical stuff to see. I have seen about 7 places in the book and I am taping in pictures of my trip there in this book as I go along. It is a great big colorful book that kids and adults will both enjoy.