Happy post Fourth of July! How did you celebrate Independence Day? Fireworks? Barbecue? Maybe a road trip?
Driving along the road with the windows down can be quite a liberating experience. That’s how former President Harry Truman felt when he and his wife Bess packed their bags and headed out of Missouri. Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Road Trip by Matthew Alegro traces their journey to Washington, D.C., up to New York City, and back home again. Though often recognized and detoured by autograph seekers, the Trumans traveled without secret service or guards of any kind, stopping in “mom and pop” restaurants and staying at motels or with friends, often taking the scenic route. And the author adds his own personality by driving that same journey and seeing the same spots as much as possible, noting both similarities and changes.
Much of the charm of this book is not only the recounting of the Truman’s trip, but also stories of classic Americana, the development of the U.S. highway system and chain motels, insight into Truman’s political career and post-presidential finances (or lack thereof), and the creation of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum. Most excellent!