Peter Jenkins is pretty high on my list of favorite authors. His book A Walk Across America was my introduction to him and his writing style, and I was hooked.
His story begins as a young man living during the Vietnam era. He came from a very normal New England family of comfortable means and he had completed his education, but was disillusioned with the American society he found himself in. Thinking he might consider just leaving this country, he was encouraged to explore America before giving up on the country. And explore he did, on foot, close up and personal. He sets out with his dog Cooper (pictured on the cover), walking from New England down to New Orleans, Louisiana. Being young is definite advantage to setting out on this kind of journey.
His walk takes him through the large range of peoples and cultures that make up America. Until I read this book, I can honestly say I didn't give much consideration to the huge range of peoples that make up our country. It was a real reminder to me of what makes our country so great.
He camped along road sides, walked through raging snow storms, stayed in seedy motels, ate foods typical of the area, interacted with the local characters of the small communities he passed through, and temporarily settled in various communities for brief periods working various day-laborer jobs when he ran out of money. It was a fascinating and difficult adventure to read about.
The second book, The Walk West: A Walk Across America 2, chronicles his walk from New Orleans to the Pacific Coast - walking with his wife. His description of walking across the desert and the Rocky Mountains was riviting.
Peter Jenkins is the author of several other books - I have read them all:
Looking for Alaska
Along the Edge of America
And his opinion of America from his experiences?... there is no where else as wonderful as this country. I have to agree with him - especially after reading his books.