Book Review by Roy E. Perry: “Roads to Quoz: An American Mosey” by William Least Heat-Moon

Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective. As I told ‘The Tennessean’ in 2008, “since moving to Nashville twenty-five years ago, I have met people whose lives do not remotely reflect the caricature of what many outside our city presume to be a ‘Nashvillian’ or the Nashville experience.” “Underground Nashville” thus explores the soul of the city, not its surface—offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

 Dave Carew


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Book Review by Roy E. Perry:
“Roads to Quoz: An American Mosey”
by William Least Heat-Moon

An Engaging Tour of Quaint and Quirky People and Places

The author of this book writes: “Samuel Johnson said it in five words: `Solitude is dangerous to reason.’ I can think of no greater reason for taking to the American road.”

In 1982, William Least Heat-Moon published Blue Highways, a remarkable book whose title refers to old highways (other than Interstates), which were colored blue on maps.

Now, in Roads to Quoz, he ventures again off the beaten path to encounter quirky, but charming, out-of-the-way places and people.

With an easy banter, Heat-Moon engages those whom he meets along the way—colorful characters eager to tell their stories.

Venturing from Florida to New Mexico, Maine, and Idaho, and to other states in between, he writes with the delightful wit and humor reminiscent of Twain, Steinbeck, or Jack Kerouac.

He explains that “quoz” (rhymes with Oz) means anything out of the ordinary: “anything strange, incongruous, or peculiar; at its heart is the unknown, the mysterious.”

Not all of America, perhaps not even the best, can be found along the Interstates or in the big cities. As the poet Robert Frost put it, “I took the road less traveled by–and that has made all the difference.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: William Least Heat-Moon, the pen name of William Trogdon, lives near Columbia, Missouri, on an old tobacco farm he’s returning to forest. His first book, Blue Highways, is a narrative of a 13,000-mile trip around America on back roads. His second work, PrairyErth, is a tour on foot into a small corner of the great tall-grass-prairie in eastern Kansas. River-Horse is an account of his four-month, sea-to-sea voyage across on the United States on its rivers, lakes, and canals. His three books on travels have never been out of print. Heat-Moon is also the author of Columbus in the Americas, a compendium of the explorer’s adventures in the New World.

Roy E. Perry of Nolensville, Tennessee was a book reviewer for the ‘Nashville Banner’ and ‘The Tennessean’ for more than thirty years. Now retired, he also was an advertising copywriter at a Nashville publishing house for more than twenty-five years.

David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance book editor, publicist, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.




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