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The Long Haul: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road Paperback – June 5, 2018
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- Bob Ryan, Boston Globe
“Rich [and] insightful.… A well-written story that rarely slows down.”
- Nathan Deuel, Los Angeles Times
“It’s a hoot to ride along with Murphy.”
- Irene Wanner, Seattle Times
“The Long Haul is funny and sad and wise, and it shows us the lives of people we depend on.”
- Matthew B. Crawford, author of Shop Class as Soulcraft
“Exquisite.… Murphy can cross class boundaries as smoothly as changing lanes on the highway.… Readers even passingly familiar with the burgeoning literary genre we might call hillbilly elegiacs… will find Murphy’s more nuanced perspective refreshing.”
- Meghan Daum, New York Times Book Review
“The Long Haul delivers because it is a survey of a culture fused to a working man’s memoir―and Murphy, smartly, avoids sentiment and lazy comparisons.”
- Jeffery Gleaves, Paris Review
“Like priests, movers shepherd us through life’s transitions; like cowboys, truckers drive the roads we’ll never know. Both see America in ways the rest of us don’t. In The Long Haul, Murphy… bring[s] us into his semi-mythic world.”
- Joshua Rothman, The New Yorker
“An adventure story and… a peek into an occupation whose practitioners we see rolling down the highway.”
- Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“The Long Haul beguil[es] readers with wit, wisdom and observations born from decades in transit.”
- Jason Blevins, Denver Post
“Finn Murphy… bring[s] readers along for a rollicking ride through a trucker’s world and [provides] an insider’s eye, pairing it with an involving series of encounters.”
- Midwest Book Review
About the Author
- Item Weight : 7.1 ounces
- Paperback : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 039335587X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0393355871
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
- Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (June 5, 2018)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #126,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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long-haul trucker. It's about time someone with actual experience
in such a job writes about it. From my POV, it's like, in IT, you're
the engineer who gets called at 3 AM when a computer running the factory
goes down and the hourly workers are idled. Who you are, where you are,
what you are doing - doesn't matter. You must fix it. Right. Now.
And, you can expect it to happen again in 15 minutes somewhere else.
Murphy's story is not about computers, it's 18-wheelers, but that can
be even worse if he breaks down alone in the middle of nowhere with
no food, water, tools, parts, warm clothing or a library to consult.
Is this job worth the sacrifices? Well, it depends on the rewards.
Mostly you are your own boss, you get good pay, respect and a real sense
of accomplishment. Every day, there are new roads, new clients, new crews,
things to learn and problems to solve. This job takes years to master so
Management can't replace you from the street in 5 minutes. You love it!
Murphy is age 50+ and slowing down. He essentially lives in 18-wheelers'
tractors, not his house. Personal details not needed, he could tell us
how someone who is never at home manages mail and other everyday things.
What should he do in retirement? Write some more enjoyable books!
"A Jake brake...sounds like a machine gun beneath my feet as it works to keep 70,000 pounds of steel and rubber under control."
Also, this: "I was running north in a convoy with nine other trucks...We flew together for 130 miles doing 65 the whole way...it was wonderful...We all fell into a groove. Everybody was driving well, everybody was professional, everybody was going fast but not crazy fast, and there was a plane of consciousness that we had together. It's the closest thing to a Zen experience I know, except when I'm in my loading trance."
And finally: "Terry dropped his trailer and hooked up (another). He pulled away in a glob of diesel smoke and a toot from the air horn. Gone. It's unlikely I'll ever see him again. He was a smart, thoughtful, and defeated man caught in the amber of class, education, and diminished expectations for himself and his progeny."
Especially since the last election, many Americans are trying to learn more about their fellow countrymen, and the reality of the life of people they don't interact with. There should be a category of books called, "Learn about the Real America." The Long Haul and Hillbilly Elegy would be on that shelf.
Author Finn Murphy dropped out of college after three years and chose to become a long haul truck driver for a company that moves family possessions from one city to another. In the industry these kind of movers are called bedbuggers and their trucks are called roach coaches. Car haulers are nicknamed parking lot attendants and hazmat truckers are dubbed suicide jockeys.
Murphy tells many fascinating stories about shippers, the folks who own the furniture, dishes and other belongings that he carefully packed and loaded on his trailer. Some are nice people and others are a pain in the backside. In all cases, Finn and his crew of packers and loaders get an intimate glimpse of the shippers and know everything about them within thirty minutes of arrival at their homes.
Murphy made pretty good money but he worked long hard hours. Some of that time was devoted to heavy lifting and movement of furniture and cartons, on and off the trailer, with other hours navigating our country’s highways. In the latter case, he made sure that his audio system gave him plenty of options, that his tractor/trailer rig was in good repair, and his beverage container had plenty of a drink he called Dr. Cola, a mix of Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper. He recalls the best part of his job was the independence it gave him along with the constant variety of people served and an ever-shifting landscape. A successful move, as he called it, was everything in the truck delivered on time and the shipper signing off that there would be no claim for loss or damage.
This book may not be of interest to everyone. I wanted to read it because I’ve moved twenty-three times in my life. The majority of those moves were during my career in the Marines when I drove the same highways, from one coast to the other, a total of six trips, along with a move to Hawaii and back, plus one to Viet Nam. Thanks to Finn Murphy, I now have a greater appreciation of the men who got my gear safely from one duty station to the other.
Top reviews from other countries
I've hitch-hiked in trucks, had a CB radio in my car ages ago and stopped at truck stops. The book rings true and is an easy read. It tells you the slang words for different types of trucks, relates to you the pecking order and vividly describes shippers (customers) who want to move house. There's plenty of advice for anyone moving home - chuck out your junk before you pay for shipping it is the main message.
Finn tells you how he got into trucking, we don't hear much of what he did when he left it, but then he came back again as a more seasoned operator. He's not afraid to tell you about mistakes he made - so if you are a moving truck driver or agent for North American Vanlines and/or its competitors you'll have fun reading the book.
There's quite a bit about how the industry works. I thoroughly enjoyed Finn's tales and hope he writes more.