Back Roads and Better Angels: A Journey into the Heart of American Democracy

By Francis S. Barry


Publication Date: June 4, 2024

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Bringing together two of America’s unifying loves — road trips and Abraham Lincoln — Frank Barry takes readers on a thought-provoking journey into the heart of our democracy and the soul of our country

A year into his marriage and having never driven an RV, Frank and his wife Laurel set out from New York City in a Winnebago to drive the nation’s first transcontinental route, the Lincoln Highway, which zigzags through small towns and big cities from Times Square to San Francisco.

Using the spirit of Abraham Lincoln to guide them across the land, they hope to see more clearly what holds the country together — and how we can keep it together, even amidst political divisions have grown increasingly rancorous, bitter, and exhausting.

Along the way, Frank and Laurel meet Americans whose personal experiences help humanize the nation’s divisions, and they encounter historical figures and events whose legacies are still shaping our sense of national identity and the struggles over it.

This unforgettable journey is full of what makes any great road trip memorable and enjoyable: music, conversation, and laughter. By the end, readers will have a clearer picture of how we have arrived at a period that carries echoes of the Civil War era, and — using Lincoln as a guide — where the path forward lies.

Story Locale:Along the Lincoln Highway and beyond: NY, NJ, PA, WV, OH, IN, IL, IA, NE, CO, WY, UT, NV, CA, AZ, NM, TX, LA, MS, AL, GA, SC, NC, VA, MD, DC

About the Author

Francis S. Barry is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist and member of the editorial board covering national affairs. He served as chief speechwriter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg during the 2020 presidential campaign and in New York's City Hall, where he also helped lead a variety of government and election reform initiatives. He is the author of The Scandal of Reform and holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame and New York University.

Author Residence: New York, NY

Author Hometown: Suffern, NY

Format: Hardcover

Length: 560 pages

Publisher: Steerforth

Publication Date: June 4, 2024

ISBN: 9781586423889

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