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Truck: On Rebuilding a Worn-Out Pickup and Other Post-Technological Adventures Paperback – April 15, 1996

4.2 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

"This readable book tells of the author's experience finding and lovingly rebuilding, a broken-down pickup truck, partly for the pleasure of the task, partly for ecological reasons, and mainly to have a dependable and practical vehicle" (LJ 1/1/77). Jerome's purpose, along with offering mechanical instruction, is to impart a bit of philosophy regarding nature and the value of work well done. "An enjoyable and informative book."
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“I loved John Jerome’s Truck . . . The book is not so much about automotive mechanics as it is about mind and matter . . . About obsession and compulsion, joy and doubt, rage and forgiveness.”—Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, New York Times


“If there is a Zen to the art of truck repair — and Jerome proves there is — it is captured with homespun wisdom, humor, and poetry in this gem of a book.” —Publishers Weekly


“A relaxed Thoreauvian journal . . . In the end, the truck does work and so does this book.”—Time Magazine
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Product Details

  • Series: On Rebuilding a Worn-Out Pickup and Other Post-Technological
  • Paperback: 155 pages
  • Publisher: UPNE; Upne ed. edition (April 15, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874517559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874517552
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,017,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
My copy is well-used, for I never tire of returning to Jerome's world. The author gets his old 1950s Dodge not to restore (he calls restorers 'nuts'), but simply to haul junk. Thumbing his nose at technology, Jerome undertakes the mechanical rebuilding of a simple truck from a simpler time, hoping it will sync with his vision of rural New England life. The book is an education about engines, removing rusted parts, junkyard hunting (hilarious and the best part of the book) with occasional but unobtrusive forays into questioning 'progress'. We feel the cold of winter as he works on the dirt floor of the barn, feel the heat radiating from the woodstove, feel the speckle of penetrating oil on our faces as he whacks away hopelessly at the kingpins. And when it's all back together, we share in his disappointment when it doesn't run (at first) and his juvenile glee when it does (much hand-wringing later). The story parallels what happens every winter in garages across the nation, as amateurs attempt to rescue old vehicles from the dead. This book is a classic, and I'm glad it's still available.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Read "The Outermost House" by Henry Beston, then go read this book; you will see what I mean. While it is true that Beston is a much better writer, the reader gets the same philosophical analysis and feeling of journey. You don't have to like trucks to enjoy this book; however if you've ever cursed at a rusted bolt, skinned your knuckles, or wrecked a hard to get part, this book is for you. It is funny, sometimes poignant view of technology.
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Format: Paperback
Jerome's "Truck" is a funny and entertaining book about rebuilding an old truck and the soul searching that ensues in the process. It is similar to Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," but not quite as serious or self-conscious. But, it does have the same form of being about adventures in the mechanical world while really being about something else. Jerome's book is actually about trucks, but at the same time it is about life in rural New England, our relationship to the modern world, and just about anything else that comes to his mind on a given day. His randomness is refreshing because it is more real. Jerome can be a little judgmental at times and is a little bit on the naïve-liberal side, but not in the "suburban soccer mom" way of more recent rural immigrants. But, he is rarely preachy and the book is one of the few honest accounts of life in rural New England.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I loved reading this book since I love to tinker with getting old stuff to work and wanted to get a truck that was a fixer-upper. My only beef was when his efforts to give a philosophy lesson became unwieldy. Never mind this for it was fun to get a freshman lesson in vehicle restoration. His imagery took me to the century-old, cold, stove-lit dairy barn turned workshop. I do laugh at his bemoaning of 1972's new truck technology as forty years later I fought to get an Explorer's engine to stay running in the wake of this module or that. I wish I had the new truck he refused back in the days shortly before Waylon Jennings' first "outlaw" album.

I remember what it was like to fix vehicles in the pre-Google days, though we never tackled Jerome's restoration efforts. If you didn't find it out in a magazine or from friends who had greasy fingernails you didn't find it out. The junkyards were more plentiful and didn't melt stuff into beer cans. Otherwise it was the independent parts store or Kmart.

Fast forward to parallels to my efforts on the Ranger I got a month after getting the book the previous Christmas. It had a leaky exhaust joint, wobbly steering, an engine that didn't run that smoothly, and some aesthetic issues with blistering paint. I did the front brakes and tried a steering fix. The tie rods were badly rusted so I took them off- and did quite well. In a faux pas like Jerome's busted engine cover, I put in the tie rods with the steering wheel inverted! It cost 450.00 for an alignment and to have them redo my butchery.

If you are halfway acquainted with car operations this book will take you the rest of the way with its explanations of motor vehicle technology. Jerome learned and you learn with him.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fun read, rightly compared to "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". It's not especially technical or oriented towards solving the mysteries of mechanics, but it is philosophical in a folksy sort of way and oriented towards solving the mysteries of life. Recommended for the right sort of reader, more college prof than grease monkey. And maybe most usefully, it'll make you think several times if you're contemplating jumping into the "hobby" of fixing up old cars and trucks and don't have a clue what you're getting yourself into.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A meditation on the good and bad aspects of modern technology and nothing at all like "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." John Jerome is a master of the English sentence. I would compare him most of all to the great Wendell Berry.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
TRUCK reminded me a alot of the book: THE CONTRARY FARMER. Although I enjoyed this book and finished it quickly, I was left wanting more. I related to the author and share many of his original motivations. All in all, the small price of the book will probably save me many hours and dollars by learning from someone else's experience.
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