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2??8Book Reviews471 Safety-reform efforts grew at all government levels during this period, as well as through private initiatives by motoring groups. With these efforts came bureaucratic agencies geared to research, prevention analysis, and increasingly strong enforcement policies. Freedom and personal liberty diough had an unsatisfactory consequence. As the audior perceptively concluded: "While we want accidents to end ... we appear unwilling to enact measures that might insure 'a perfected' transportation system" (p. 204). Hell on Wheeh: The Promise and Peril ofAmerica's Car Culture represents an important and needed contribution to understanding America's love affair with the automobile and the carnage and cultural change that it brought in its wake. Devon, United KingdomTheodore W. Eversole Hip to the Trip: A CulturalHistory ofRoute 66. By Peter B. Dedek. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2007. Pp. 180. Illustrations, color plates, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 978-0-82634-194-5. $19.95, paper.) An insightful student ofcultural landscapes and the built environment, author Peter B. Dedek brings fresh new perspectives to his study of the iconic Mother Road. His unique treatment of the topic is significant, given an already crowded library ofavailable literature on Route 66, including such recentworks as:Route 66: Iconography of the American Highway, by Arthur Krim (Center for American Places, 2006); Route 66 Lost and Found: Ruins and Relics Revisited, by Russell Olsen (MBI, 2004); AlongRoute 66, by Quinta Scott (University of Oklahoma Press, 2001 ); and Route 66: The Mother Road, by Michael Wallis (St. Martin's Press, iggo). Hip to the Trip is more than a standard history of the rise and fall of Route 66, however, and several key factors effectively work to separate Dedek's study from the pack. First, the author provides broad contexts for understanding not just the road but the historic route itself. With ties to seasonal migrations of Native Americans, the road inherited strong regional and cultural associations, earlier exploited by railroad companies with their heritage tourism emphasis on exploration and adventure in the American Southwest. By the time Route 66 became a reality in 1926, the mystique and even fantasy of the route were firmly established in the nation's cultural history. As the author notes, however, other "events," from fiction and song to travel guides and television, only served to build on the mystique, even as changes on the national transportation scene worked to undermine the road's existence. A second factor that makes Dedek's work significant is that the author utilizes the contexts to tell the continuing story of Route 66. Observing the road did not die, as others have contended, with the advent of the Interstate Highway Act of 1 956 or even with completion ofdie last bypassing interstate sections in the 1 980s, he carries the story forward to the present to chronicle the phenomenal rebirth of die road in the realms of enthusiasts, preservationists, promoters, and planners. Carefully separating nostalgic myth from historical reality, he provides analysis ofthe road's continuing cultural influence. As he notes, "In a sense, Route 66 enthusiasts are observers in a postmodern era who are stuck with a modernist transportation 472Southwestern Historical QuarterlyApril system (die interstates) looking back with nostalgia at a quirky highway (Route 66) diat better suits their mentality" (p. 102). Building on the notion diat Route 66 as a culturaljourney has always mattered as much as the destination, Dedek concludes with a study of the road ahead. Specifically , he argues for focused historic preservation efforts, building on successes of state historic preservation offices (including the Texas Historical Commission) and the Route 66 Corridor Act of iggg, as well as private organizations such as the Historic Route 66 Association ofArizona. As an analytical cultural history, Hip to the Trip challenges die reader to consider Route 66 holistically, bodi in the past and in the present. In diat regard, though, it could have benefited from a brief comparative review of other historic national roads such as the Meridian, Dixie Overland, and Lincoln highways. Such a context would have served to strengthen arguments for uniqueness, historical integrity and sustained cultural viability. A series of localized maps, denoting especially die smaller communities mentioned in the book, would also...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 471-472
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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