From Sea to Shining Sea: Present-day Journey into America’s Past – Gavin Young

I’ve only recently discovered Gavin Young, but he’s fast become one of my favourite “travel” writers. “Travel” because by and large he’s not an explorer or a visitor passing through the places he writes about. Rather, he describes people and places that he has met during spells as a foreign correspondent, giving you a far deeper insight into all three.

From Sea to Shining Sea is the first of his books I’ve read where he does travel around, but the book does not suffer from the “brief glances from the moving train” approach. In it, Gavin Young focuses on a selection of places in the US which have drawn him due to their historical, literary or geographical significance. Starting in New York, he travels from east to west, from the eastern seaboard’s whaling past, through Altanta and the Civil War, to the Alamo and San Antonio and the cession of Texas from Mexico to a Republic, to LA in the era of Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, ending up in the Yukon, drawn by Jack London‘s tales of the wilderness and the gold rush, and many more places, and people past and present, in between.

Buy it: Amazon link