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Showing 1-10 of 55 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 81 reviews
on September 13, 2014
Liked the writing style but not the critical comments or the political mission.
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on September 19, 2013
I was unable to read the book's description before purchasing, but I bought it because I thought it might be a good story about the differences in traveling through America, then and now. Instead, it was nonstop criticism of Steinbeck, claiming that he made stories up and lied throughout the book. Anyone who reads Steinbeck knows that he mixes fiction with facts. He wrote beautiful, poignant letters and books, and they should be acknowledged as such. In Travels with Charley, you are told from the beginning that he spent nights in hotels, and made other stops not mentioned in the book. I expected, by Steigerwald's book title, that he would dispute Steinbeck's story to a point, but I didn't expect that to be the theme throughout. He made it clear from the beginning that he is a card carrying member of the Tea Party and he didn't like Steinbeck's progressive perspectives on what he witnessed in his travels with Charley. That is what his book is truly about - his disdain of Steinbeck's politics, which he attempts to disguise as legitimate literary critique. I'm open to reading all viewpoints, but this book was a silly waste of time.
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on February 18, 2013
say it ain't so. I was reading TWC again, this time on my Kindle and happily highlighting my favorite lines. Then at the end the list of books comes up, including this one. Just out of curiosity I clicked on it and was appalled. I read this book in one sitting. It does an excellent job of documenting the fact that TWC was mostly made up. Yes, it is so. Does it matter? Damn right it does. Am I mad? Yes, but not at this author. Do I feel foolish? Yes, there were signs if I had been more suspicious. It should never be wrong, or inconvenient to tell the truth. Steinbeck should have done the trip he planned or written a different book. Thank you Bill Steigerwald.

The reason for only 4 stars? I had just been reading Steinbeck!
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on January 28, 2013
As a road trip book I enjoyed this as much as the books of Peter Jenkins, Bill Bryson, and William Least Heat Moon. The author, who went alone, sometimes seems like a crank you would want to push out the door on a mountain road but most of the time like a wise and witty guide. The Steinbeck sleuthing, which is overwhelmingly convincing, added interest, especially since I am a fellow journalist and stickler for truth as opposed to truthiness. Made me think of the words "farb" and "hardcore" as used by Civil War reenactors. The author is definitely hardcore.
John Branston, Memphis
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on October 30, 2013
I typically enjoy travel books but this one grew into a book about a long car ride rather than an adventure. Toward the end, the author seemed to just focus on getting back home rather than providing an accurate glimpse of life in America. For instance, I think that his portrayal of Louisianians as little more than bad drivers overlooked a number of great qualities about the people in the Bayou State. The discussions about his back-and-forth exchanges with Steinbeck scholars also got old. I appreciate the author's effort to set the story straight about "Travels with Charley," but the book did not meet my expectations.
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on December 3, 2012
There's a good reason that "Dogged" is in the title of this book. The word describes veteran journalist Bill Steigerwald with precision.

After a long, productive career as a newspaper journalist and nationally syndicated libertarian columnist, Steigerwald set off on a dream road trip to retrace the same path John Steinbeck took 50 years ago -- only to discover that Steinbeck created much of his alleged journey out of thin air.

Steigerwald's high-speed 11,276-mile "vacation" turned into one of the biggest stories of his life -- one that would make the editorial page of the New York Times, NPR and many other news outlets.

As he passed through Maine to Montana to Texas and New Orleans, he gathered a snapshot of America -- albeit a limited snapshot based on the places he visited -- and reports that the "average America" the media tell us about does not really exist.

What exists is a remarkable mix of geographies and people who, despite the economic collapse and our country's many challenges and shortcomings, are doing OK. "Our underlying wealth and incredible prosperity" are still in great evidence, Steigerwald discovers.

"Dogging Steinbeck" is a great read. It captures well Steigerwald's sense of awe at America's greatness, as it deconstructs American wrong-headedness wherever he encounters it -- and it also separates fact from fiction in Steinbeck's 50-year-old account.
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on December 6, 2014
Very good book showing that Travels with Charley was more fiction than fact. I loved travels when I read it but discovering it was much more fiction than fact didn't distress me. Steinbeck was a great novelist and this book supports that characterization of him. A great read. Now that I have almost 25 years in as a professional tourist (trucker) it resonates even more with me.
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on June 30, 2014
I have to admit I was first drawn to this title because of the interest in finding out why Steinbeck was untruthful. "Charley" is (was) one of my favorite books for all of the same reasons that others loved it. It seemed personable and was written by an iconic American writer.
But Steigerwald reveals not only the clay feet Steinbeck has but also:
1. That great storytelling transcends truth.
2. That blind loyalty is as sinful as the sins it makes excuses for;
3. That America is a great country because it is diverse and resilient;
4. That journalism needs to lay it all out there, good and bad, and let the reader pass his own judgement.
This is what Steigerwald has done. I will continue to read Steinbeck because he is a great writer. But I will have a more critical eye towards writing that is supposed to represent the truth. Reading this book has reinforced that in me.
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on February 21, 2013
The original premise of this book is fine: follow Steinbeck's route in Travels with Charley as closely as possible and report on how things had changed in America. Steigerwald deserves credit for his efforts and for taking time to conduct extensive background checks. Unfortunately, the book strays too often into Steigewald's libertarian political views which grow tiresome and do not, in my mind, add to the story. The book could have used some serious editing - wordy and repetitive in many parts. This would have been a better magazine article than a full-length book. This is one book that I couldn't wait to get finished with, for all the wrong reasons. My advice: there are other more worthy books to spend your money on.
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on March 12, 2014
It was so gratifying to read a piece based in real researched journalism. Mr. Steigerwald didn't set out with a certain agenda; in fact, what he discovered was quite surprising to him and the original intent of following John Steinbeck's exact Travels with Charlie trip, departing 50 years to the day from the exact place. He veered into surprising facts he learned about Steinbeck's trip. His discoveries carried with it some disappointments about Steinbeck's full truthfulness about his travels so long ago. I've read some reviewers and Steinbeck scholars responses which were shooting the messenger of finding the truth. Some were very scathing and unfair, in my opinion. Though I have always been a Steinbeck reader, and will continue to be, I can still feel my disappointment based on research, and move on with great respect for Mr. Steigerwald. He did his own trip on a shoe string budget, sleeping in his car, and taking time to actually get to know many ordinary people along the way. In fact, I think he did the trip how John Steinbeck actually wanted to do his own, but couldn't muster the time and effort it needed. By that point in his life, he'd become a wealthy upper class guy who hung with the same. He'd become one of the people that he didn't care for politically. And he'd grown soft. Mr Steigerwald wrote in a clever interesting way that held my interest. And he was fair about the stuff that makes up the hardworking people of middle America, Flyover Country, as he refers to it. At a time when I've become sad and discouraged about the direction our country is taking, this was the first piece of journalistic writing that made me feel that it's not so hopeless.
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