By Hampton Sides
from the New Frontier
ISBN # 1-4000-3355-1
Order the book
Request a review copy
. . . drops in on the charmed life of skateboarding icon Tony
Hawk; studies counter-terrorism at the G. Gordon Liddy spy school;
goes Hollywood with American Indian Movement radical-turned-movie-star
Russell Means; steps out of the closet with Mel White, religious
right ghostwriter-turned-gay activist; mushes the Iditarod Trail
with Alaska legend Joe Redington.
. . . runs the rapids during a man-made flood in the Grand Canyon;
crashes the redwood retreat of California’s elite Bohemian
Club; debriefs the “bio-nauts” as they emerge from
captivity in the Biosphere; dives into America’s greatest
swimming hole; gets ecstatic with the Zippies at their secret
. . . ponders silver bubbles at the annual Airstream RV convention;
revs it up at the Harley-Davidson rally in Sturgis, South Dakota;
sails the Chesapeake with snooty owners of a rare antique sailboat
known as the log canoe; roams the streets with D.C.’s hard-core
band of bike couriers.
AMERICAN BY BIRTH, SOUTHERN
BY THE GRACE OF . . .
. . . speaks in tongues with black Pentecostalists of the Memphis-based
Church of God in Christ; fishes for lunkers at the Bassmasters
Classic; goes underground with the world’s greatest cave
rescuer; unravels the mystery of a notorious teen murder in rural
. . . crosses the Sahara Desert with American endurance runners
at the infernal Marathon des Sables; bushwhacks through MesoAmerica
with Mormon archaeologists in search of lost tribes of Israel;
visits a high school friend who’s become an Uzi-toting Zionist
pioneer in the West Bank; walks the route of the Bataan Death
March with characters from Ghost Soldiers.
. . . cranks it up with high-end stereophiles at the Consumer
Electronics Show in Las Vegas; gets bowled over by 5,000 squealing
salesladies at the annual Tupperware convention; plumbs the mysteries
of the "schwa" at the National Spelling Bee; scrapes
at the stucco of the neurotic architectural tradition known as
Santa Fe Style.
AMERICA, POST 9/11
. . . traces the harrowing stories of three World Trade Center
survivors; goes off-roading in the Imperial Sand Dunes; almost
embeds on the Iraqi frontlines with the U.S. Marines; remembers
Shane Childers, the decorated Marine who became the first American
combat death in Iraq.
"The most remarkable attraction at the
Tupperware headquarters is a million-dollar permanent art
exhibit called the Museum of Historic Containers. It traces
mankind’s struggle against spoilage in all its grim forms.
The tour begins with an Egyptian earthenware jar from 4000
B.C. and proceeds more or less chronologically, displaying
objets d'art from the Babylonians, the Greeks and Romans,
the Incas, and so on. There are containers made of shells,
reeds, and horns. There are compotes, cruets, ewers, urns,
tankards, and Delftware bowls. Having seen the history of
containment, visitors are then invited to gaze upon its
future. The tour moves to a second room filled with the
latest runs from the Tupperware factory. The products are
neatly arranged on the display tables. Modular Mates. Servalier
Bowls. Super Crisp-It Containers. The wisdom of 6,000 years
has led human civilization directly to this room.
For a few moments the visitor can hold a little piece of
victory—the triumph over the microbe and the cockroach and
the mold spore: the paragon of packages."
Read more excerpts