- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Sterling (March 1, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1402734689
- ISBN-13: 978-1402734687
- Product Dimensions: 10 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Roads That Built America: The Incredible Story of the U.S. Interstate System Paperback – March 1, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
Delving a little deeper into the book, I did find some things of interest: The history of the National Road, for example, was fascinating, as was the growth and development of the U.S. highway system. It was also interesting to note President Eisenhower's inspiration for the U.S. Interstate System from Germany's Autobahn.
Having said that, I found a lot wrong with this book. First, I was looking for more of a "political" background in the U.S. that led to pushing through the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, which launched the Interstate system as a defense and transportation system. I wanted to know more how the culture of the time influenced the move toward a national highway system that was more efficient than the one already in existence.
For example, how fears of nuclear strikes spurred the planning of a system that would be necessary both to evacuate and to get the military to various positions. McNichol spends a couple of paragraphs on it, but it was fears of war that really helped spur the Interstate system, and I saw the lack of mention as a huge gap in this book. I also wanted to know why Missouri was "ground zero" for the first Interstate highway. That was never explained to my satisfaction, either.
Second, I wanted more information on why the Interstate highways were planned where they were. McNichol goes into a lot of detail about the fact that they were placed so as not to compete against already existent U.S. highways (but doesn't explain why this is the case).Read more ›
I've read several books on this subject, and this one is like the others in one regard: I'd enjoy reading more about the actual construction details- the unforseen problems, the mishaps and mistakes, the million other events that occur between groundbreaking and ribbon-cutting. Nonetheless, a good book, I enjoyed it.
Altough it seems to be written in high-school textbook prose, the chapters are well organzined, the photos are wonderful and the format lends itself to the coffee table. It can be read in almost any order, a chapter at at time or even a sidebar at a time.
I now have an appreciation for the engineering marvel that Americans take for granted every day.
McNichol is a bit fixated on Boston's Big Dig. While the Big Dig was arguably the most aggressive engineering feat in U.S. insfrastructure history, I think it got a little more attention in this book than it deserved. After all, McNichol did already publish a 235 page tome devoted solely to the Big Dig in 2000.
Also, this book has not been updated since it's original release in 2006. Since that time a lot has happened. I-10 in New Orleans completely failed during hurricane Katrina leaving many refugees stranded on flooded surface streets. The I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse in Minneapolis in 2007 changed the way bridges are inspected yet again and had a far reaching impact on how U.S. highway funds are allocated for transportation safety.
The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways project may be complete in principle, but it will never actually be finished. As long as our Interstate Highways live, this book will always have relevance and should have periodic updates and revisions.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My husband wasn't sure about the book when I first gave it to him, but as it turned out he really liked the book,Published on August 2, 2013 by M. Hilton
I purchased this book as a gift for my husband after he recently viewed a program on the History Channel relative to the US infrastructure failing and how come!Published on August 2, 2013 by Bonnie Martin
It is not PC to appreciate highways anymore, but this boomer can remember two lane windy roads and 8-10 hour trips in hazardous snowstorms through the mountains go go just 200... Read morePublished on January 28, 2013 by DCTECHGUY
The book is good and an easy read. I would have liked a more in-depth discussion of the interstate highway system. Read morePublished on January 10, 2013 by LT
The Roads that Built America is a lively, highly informative look at the development of U.S. roads from there earliest beginnings until now. Read morePublished on October 25, 2010 by Brad M.
My husband got this book from our library and enjoyed it so much I purchased it for our 36 year-old son for his birthday, and he also really enjoyed it. Read morePublished on April 5, 2008 by C J
This is by far the finest book written on the Interstate System in it's fifty- year existance! I just can't put it down. Read morePublished on February 26, 2008 by Ronald A. Breisch
This is a very attractive book, and lots of fun to read. In fact, this book is very elegant, and utterly fascinating to pick up. Read morePublished on January 3, 2008 by G. Stelzenmuller