From the Book Jacket: From the award-winning author of American Canopy, a dazzling account of the world’s longest road, the Pan-American Highway, and the epic quest to link North and South America, a dramatic story of commerce, technology, politics, and the divergent fates of the Americas in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries…. The Longest Line on the Map uncovers this incredible tale for the first time and weaves it into a tapestry that fascinates, informs, and delights. Rutkow’s narrative forces the reader to take seriously the question: Why couldn’t the Americas have become a single region that “is” and not two near irreconcilable halves that “are”? Whether you’re fascinated by the history of the Americas, or you’ve dreamed of driving around the globe, or you simply love world records and the stories behind them, The Longest Line on the Map is a riveting narrative, a lost epic of hemispheric scale.
“Everybody loves a shaggy dog story. A good one should be long and implausible but still on the edge of possibility. The chronicle at the heart of Eric Rutkow’s ‘The Longest Line on the Map’ seems to qualify. The story involves the decades-long attempt to construct thousands of miles of railway—and, later, highway—to ‘link the Americas.’”—The Wall Street Journal
“Rutkow is a superb fact-hunter, having raided archives from San José, Costa Rica, to Laramie, Wyo., to find letters, minutes and articles that may not have seen daylight since the years they were written… Rutkow is a graceful writer with a penchant for well-placed classical allusions…”—The New York Times
“Rutkow does an excellent job linking the domestic politics and economies of the countries along the highway to the international diplomacy that made it possible.”—Foreign Affairs
“Rutkow's fascination with the Pan-American highway is evident in this meticulously researched and vividly recounted drama. He combines a historian's eye for detail with a storyteller's skill at bringing to life the dynamic political and social forces that conceived and constructed the international corridor.”—Shelf Awareness, starred review
“A powerful argument against Washington’s growing embrace of isolationist policies at home and abroad. Highly recommended for U.S. and diplomatic historians, geopolitical scholars, and general readers.”—Library Journal, starred review
“Rutkow offers a richly detailed examination of efforts to build a highway from Alaska to the tip of Argentina… A fresh, well-documented account of U.S.-Latin American relations.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Rutkow’s excellent, thoroughly researched, and unusual look at this complicated mix of infrastructure innovations and international relations will engage a variety of reading tastes.”—Booklist