An American Song is a book about the stories Americans tell. Not famous Americans, but common Americans– those whose stories would under normal circumstances be unlikely to find anything beyond a local audience. These great, unheralded storytellers can be found in all corners of America, and An American Song is dedicated to giving them a voice.
The process of finding them, of course, was no easy task. Over the course of 2 1/2 years, I took seven trips that when combined took me to each of the contiguous 48 states. Traversing some 80,000 miles of secondary and back roads, I left my collisions with storytellers to chance. And so I met them on the roadside, in restaurants and bars, in national parks, in their places of business– in any place where I and they happened to be at the same time. From them emerged a narrative of my country that I found to be indispensable, revealed to me simply because I opened my ears to it.
Out of these stories I gleaned something of the lives and souls of Americans, and through them– as well as through the often magnificent places through which I passed and my experiences during those years of my life– I came to a greater understanding of my place within it. The result was an experience that was both illuminating on a national scale and intimately personal in a way I never anticipated when I first set out. In An American Song I have tried to tell the story of this education– my story— as well as the stories that facilitated and motivated it.
This page is committed to continuing that work by offering additional content and promoting discourse about everything related in the book. I hope you choose to participate in this process.
Of course, the first step is to read this book:
If you have not already done so, please find it for electronic download. It is currently available through most e-book retailers, including Amazon (Kindle), Smashwords, Barnes & Noble (Nook), iBooks, Kobo, and Google Play. Even if you choose Amazon, you don’t need a Kindle in order to read the book– any reader will do, and several quality ones are available as free downloads if your laptop or tablet does not have a program pre-installed (Apple, for instance, offers a free Kindle app for your iPad, iPhone, or Mac). Once you have read the book, please leave a review on the site you purchased it from (or if you’re feeling particularly inspired, even the sites you didn’t!). And if you enjoyed it, recommend it to your friends and family and ask them to do the same. Word of mouth goes a long way in this market.
After you have read the book (or even while you are doing so), check back with this page regularly to continue your experience. And feel free to contact me with questions you’d like answered or with suggestions of what I should post next. I will always try my best to accommodate you, as my readers are the people I set up this site for.
Thank you for visiting. And thank you for doing me the honor of reading my book. I am ever-grateful for your patronage.