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All Gone to Look for America [Paperback]

Peter Millar
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

25 Aug 2011
At the age of 52 and with a shoestring budget, Peter Millar set about rediscovering the United States by following the last traces of the technological wonder that created the country in the first place - the railroad. On a rail network ravaged and reduced he managed to cross the continent in slow motion, talking to people and taking in their stories and concerns while watching the vast landscape unfold. Wry, witty, intelligent and always observant, this ''inland empire'' should appeal to modern Britons keen to get beneath the skin of this influential nation.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ARCADIA BOOKS (25 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906413967
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906413965
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 113,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter Millar was born in Northern Ireland and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he read French and Russian. He worked for Reuters news agency as the sole non-German correspondent in East Berlin in the early 1980s, also covering the Solidarity movement in Poland before moving to Warsaw, where he pressed the button to tell the world of the election of Mikhail Gorbachev, a defining moment in Soviet history.

In 1985 he joined the Sunday Telegraph in the newly created role as Central Europe Correspondent - a title he invented to anticipate the dramatic changes about to overtake the continent - before moving to The Sunday Times, in early 1989, just in time to catch the climactic final stages of The Cold War. Millar was seized by the Volkspolizei on the streets of East Berlin during the demonstrations which accompanied Gorbachev's visit in October, interrogated by the Stasi and expelled from the country. Nonetheless he managed to get back by November 9, the dramatic night the Berlin Wall came down.

These events form the background to his 2009 autobiographical book: 1989, The Berlin Wall (My Part in its Downfall), a title he freely admits much to the late Spike Milligan. He is a firm believer that there is humour (if occasionally dark) behind even the greatest historical events.

In the 1990s Millar worked briefly with Robert Maxwell, as deputy editor of his ill-fated newspaper The European, a role he has since described as "like being aide-de-camp to Stalin."

For the past decade Millar has concentrated on books, with two thrillers to his name and a third - The Black Madona - due out in the autumn of 2010. He is also author of All Gone to Look for America, a travel book reflecting his love of trains, history and good beer, crisscrossing the United States in a 10,000 mile journey on the now little used railways that were instrumental in turning most of a continent into a single nation.

He is married with two grown-up sons, divides his time between the north Oxfordshire brewing village of Hook Norton and South London where he can often be found (often in a state of chronic despair and with fingernails chewed to the bone) following the vicissitudes inflicted by fate on his beloved Charlton Athletic.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic And Engrossing Read 8 Sep 2009
Format:Paperback
Well done Peter Millar ! The Northern Irishman gives a thoroughly engrossing , witty , and informative account of travel across America in that much maligned - and often overlooked -form of slow transport : the Amtrak train . However , its not an rail anorak's book at all . He uses the train as a means to an end to explore the cities , out of the way places , and people across this vast and diverse country - with scenery along the way . And nowhere does it more close up - warts and all - than spending a few weeks travelling by train .
Along the way he vistits NYC , Buffalo / Niagara , Chicago , Seattle , Sacramento , Reno , Salt Lake City , Denver , LA , and New Orleans , among others . His style is perhaps more Paul Theroux than Bill Bryson but I found his style thoroughly engaging with his take on inner city decay , the decline of the rail system and the people who use it , the Mormon church , American beer , the Civil War , and many other sights and people on the way . A rare mix of intelligent writing with a twinkle in the eye . Informative without being boring , opinionated without being arrogant , and amusing without being crass . Perfect !
Can't praise this book highly enough and even has me contemplating about doing a similar journey myself sometime in the future .
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seeking the soul of America 4 July 2010
Format:Paperback
This book could have been called, 'Places not to visit in America'. However, such is the skill of the author; his discription of so many soulless dying cities is entertaining.

Peter Miller has a genious for describing people. He combines this with the research he has done on the area, and then adds his own often humorous view of the world.

He has inspired me to go to the more unusual places in the USA.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All Gone to look for America 7 July 2010
Format:Paperback
Thoroughly enjoyed book. Personally very familiar with most places he stopped eg Seattle, Spokane, Sacramento, New York City to name a few but not Malta MN Reno NV New Orleans LA and Memphis TN . A couple of years ago. I crossed USA by Amtrak North Carolina to Pennsylvania, Chicago, Albuquerque NM and Los Angeles so I could relate well to trains. In April this year I also experienced Amtrak again in NE USA.. I use crutches now (recent two titanium knees replacement} and they cared.

I agree with Peter Millar, their staff are excellent and friendly and to me most helpful I even use the word "kind".

The book was perfectly balanced... sadly I am allergic to beer so cannot comment on that score. I thought his style reminded me of Bill Bryson. His understanding of the American pluses and minuses were right on !

I wholly recommend the book to anyone planning to visit the real USA beyond Florida or shopping in New York City or to anyone, who wishes to get a deep insight into America at this time If tempted to visit! read the book !!

Robert Barron
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And He Finds America Too 10 April 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The author doesn't attempt any Brysonesque humour, but this is nevertheless a clear, well-written and entertaining account of his journey round the USA by rail. Although we learn plenty about Mr Millar's experiences and encounters on board - and we certainly get the message about how slow and infrequent the trains are and how inaccessible some of the stations are - we also get an insight into second-string cities such as Buffalo and Milwaukee as well as the larger, more obvious places. I particularly enjoyed his account of getting to a football stadium in South Central LA by public transport. The author gives us just enough history and background information to give a little depth to his stories, and he does so in an authoritative manner. His taste for microbreweries - and the characters he meets therein - add another level to the book. If you enjoy America, travel writing, railways, or just want a good read, get this book.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's What you Read Travel Books for 17 April 2009
Format:Paperback
Peter Millar's newest book, All Gone to Look for America, is a primer for anyone who has ever thought of taking Amtrak around the US, or for anyone who would prefer to read about it, without all the legwork. To paraphrase Anthony Burgess's review of Paul Theroux's, The Kingdom by the Sea, `Thanks to Peter Millar for following the Amtrak across America, so I don't have to.' And of course even if we did, we might not uncover the local personalities and peculiar neighborhood lore that Millar unearths as he goes. This is a well researched book with many of its associations coming straight out of the author's own experience as a multi-lingual correspondent for Reuters and his penchant for arcane knowledge of brewing and language and customs. If the book had footnotes it would need often two or three to a sentence, so wide-ranging is the author's command of historical detail.
It is what you read travel books for: Either to visit places you have never been, or to see your own town from the perspective of someone who is `not from these parts'. I not only learned, for example, the correct recipe for Elvis's Peanut Butter and Banana Toast, but I learned that the street I once lived on in Seattle was the original `Skid Row'. Seems more charming, now that I know that.
Mostly, however, Millar's vision of America's city centers is that they don't exist. Many of us have had that disquieting realization before, that we live in a civilization built around automobiles, where there is no concept of foot traffic. In my neighborhood, for instance, there are not even any continuous sidewalks. Oops! It seems an oversight of historic significance, and part of Millar's description is an account of how this came to be a fixture of urban design in the US.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Travel Book I've Ever Read
As someone who has lately fallen in love with holidaying in the USA and has gorged themselves on US travel books, I cant recommend this title enough. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Gerald Martin Farrell
5.0 out of 5 stars Right tracks
Peter Millar's background in journalism comes to the fore in this brilliant piece of reportage - not for nothing was he Foreign Correspondent of the Year back in '89. Read more
Published on 24 Aug 2011 by Mark Porter
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite What It says On The Tin
I enjoyed very much the descriptions of American cities and their sights together with the author's experiences of them. Read more
Published on 6 May 2011 by Mr. Stephen D. Wassell
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic. Inspired me to save for my own trip
I've always loved the books of Bill Bryson and decided that I should give someone else a chance to compete - and compete Mr Millar certainly did. Read more
Published on 19 Mar 2011 by Ed Minty
5.0 out of 5 stars A great travel book
I came across this book by accident but what a great find. Peter Millar sets out on a journey to discover America, by train! Read more
Published on 9 Feb 2011 by PMuss
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch your step when detraining ....
I read this after seeing a review in the Times - really hit a chord for me as I did something very similar in 1990/91, using a 45 day Amtrak pass to travel coast to coast starting... Read more
Published on 10 Jan 2011 by Rob Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Ambling with Amtrak
Having ridden the Amtrak system extensively over the past 11 years I just loved this book and couldn't put it down. Read more
Published on 28 Jun 2010 by babbage64
5.0 out of 5 stars Could not put it down
This is a great read. Ive read everything by Bill Bryson and have recently finished Travels with Charley By John Steinback and this is up there with the great travel reads. Read more
Published on 15 May 2009 by Mr. S. Braiden
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