Jaunty.... American Journey
takes us back to a time when taking the car was still a big deal, when people weren’t driving so much as ‘motoring’ around.... Davis excels in making his characters come alive on the page.
— Christoph Irmscher - Wall Street Journal
Intriguing.... [Makes] brilliant use ... of notebooks, letters, and newspaper reports.
— Nicolaus Mills - Daily Beast
Auto magnate, inventor, and naturalist—‘self-reliant’ pioneers and pastoral ramblers—are united in common cause: dedication to the frontier American ethos. Wes Davis’ homespun comrades forge ahead into their beloved wildernesses, and we fortunate readers tag along for a bittersweet, nostalgic ride.
— Neil Baldwin, author of Edison: Inventing the Century
Who knew the iconic American road trip began with the industrial trailblazers Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Harvey Firestone? Joining up with John Burroughs, the famous nineteenth-century naturalist, this unlikely foursome hit the road in 1918. They discovered a pastoral America unaware of the coming transformations, largely brought about by three of the travelers. I can’t help but wonder what they would think of the very different country they helped create. American Journey
is a meticulously researched and wistful gem of a book.
— Finn Murphy, author of The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road
The itinerary of American Journey
steers us through a crucial portal in American history—from pastoral yesteryear to mechanized modernity. Where, oh where, would we have wound up without men like Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and their arcadian muse, John Burroughs, whose rosy nostalgia fueled their drive toward a future lit and streamlined by their undoubting know-how? Mind you, the route that Wes Davis maps so painstakingly is bumpy with foreboding (looking at you, Elon Musk), but the steady stream of roadside attractions and this merry band of inventor-adventurers charm at every turn.
— John Taliaferro, author of Grinnell: America’s Environmental Pioneer and His Restless Drive to Save the West
A charming, sunlit excursion along one of history’s more unusual byways—the safari-like road-trip adventures of two men who were changing the world, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, and an emissary from its past, the aged essayist and naturalist John Burroughs. American Journey
is a lovely rabbit-hole of a book about a country that was becoming something new, and about the bonds of friendship, which are timeless.
— William Souder, author of Mad at the World: A Life of John Steinbeck
A rare account of brilliant minds as they set off in search of America.
— Kirkus Reviews
Davis conveys the excitement and danger of early automobile travel and crafts memorable set pieces.... This historical road trip is well worth taking.
— Publishers Weekly