Journalist Bill Bryson wants to find the archetype of America– the small town of fantasy, where Jefferson Smith and Atticus Finch are your neighbors and the balcony to the Strand movie theater is still open on Saturday afternoons. He travels the country in an untrustworthy sedan. He begins from the driveway of his hometown of Des Moines, Iowa, travels south along the Mississippi, east to the Atlantic before criss-crossing the continent to the west and back again. In all, he visits thirty-eight states, always looking and never quite finding it all in the same locale. Along the way, Bryson serves up a colorful tale of boredom, kitsch, community and beauty when you least expect it.

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