Allegiance to Winds and Waters: Bicycling the Political Divides of the United States
Allegiance to Winds and Waters: Bicycling the Political Divides of the United States is an enthralling and thoughtful memoir about what divides and unites us both as people and as a nation. The author chronicles her fourteen-month cycling trip with her husband David around the perimeter of the United States, with a smidge of the Mexican and Canadian borders thrown in for good measure.
After being laid off from her job as a history professor in Minneapolis, the author decides the best way to break out of her post-employment depressive rut is to take a cross-country tour of the US and record the stories of those she meets along the road. From one coast to another, up and down impossibly steep mountain ranges, across swamps and deserts, through storms and sunshine, Anne Winkler-Morey takes readers through all of the best and worst the North American landscape and climate has to offer.
The descriptions of the physical challenges of a middle-aged woman determined to stay the course of such a massive undertaking are captivating enough on their own to earn the respect of readers, but the way Winkler-Morey combines the challenges and traumas of her past with the hardships she faces within herself on the road is dazzling in its scope and humbling in its authenticity.
The author’s journey takes place during the height of the Occupy Wall Street Movement when the long-standing political and cultural divides fueled by racial injustice, income inequality, and pervasive nationalist ideologies were already becoming unavoidably apparent to the general populace. Winkler-Morey takes great care to travel like the historian she is and highlights events of the past and present in communities along her route that call attention to the half-told histories of a nation that often leave out those who are not white, cis-gendered, Christian, or male.
The strangers she meets along the way in the many red and blue states she travels through, along with the “trail angels” who provide respite and kindness when she and David need it the most, provide fascinating individual stories that create a personal brand of cultural context through which to view the political and philosophical divides of the country.
Part Bicycle Diaries, part Our Bodies, Our Bikes, Winkler-Morey’s book is an eye-opening window through which to view a new angle of understanding of the firmly entrenched beliefs that separate us and the deeply moving commonalities unique to us all that give rise to hope for the future.
|Page Count||352 pages|
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