“Grant succumbs to indigenous American wanderlust, exploring the land mostly left of the Mississippi in a journey of discovery for himself and other agoraphobics. . . . [American Nomads is] a diverting jaunt with vagabonds of the West’s open roads and backwoods: mobile nobility nicely considered.” Kirkus Reviews
Travels with Lost Conquistadors, Mountain Men, Cowboys, Indians, Hoboes, Truckers, and Bullriders
978-0-8021-4180-4 • $16.00 • Paperback • Feb. 2005
Fascinated by the land of endless horizons, sunshine, and the open road, Richard Grant spent fifteen years wandering throughout the United States, never spending more than three weeks in one place, and getting to know America’s nomadstruckers, tramps, rodeo cowboys, tie-dyed T-shirt concert followers, flea market traders, retirees who live year-round in their RVs, and the murderous Freight Train Riders of America (FTRA).
As an outsider aching for the “balm of motion,” Grant uses these lives and his own to examine the myths and realities of the wandering life, and its contradiction with the sedentary American dream. “Forget the white picket fence, the house in the suburbs, the monthly mortgage payment and all that crap,” says a truck driver Grant rode with on one of his adventures. “Americans dream about burning down the house and saddling up the horse and it’s been that way ever since the plains were knee deep in buffalo shit.”
Along with a personal account, American Nomads traces the history of wandering in the New World, through vividly told stories of frontiersmen, fur trappers and cowboys, Comanche and Apache warriors, all the way back to the first Spanish explorers who crossed the continent. What unites these disparate characters, as they range back and forth across the centuries, is a stubborn conviction that the only true freedom is to roam across the land.