American Studies and History

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Hip to the Trip: A Cultural History of Route 66

Peter B. Dedek

Before and since its official closure in 1985, historic U.S. 66 became associated with the deserts, Indians, and cowboys of the Southwest, the "Okies" of the Great Depression, and the millions of vacationers who took to the highway in their streamlined automobiles and found adventure on the open road from the late 1940s to the 1970s. Route 66 has such name recognition that in the past twenty years it has been used to advertise products ranging from blue jeans, to root beer, to automobiles.

The highway enjoyed only about thirty years of dominance as a primary auto and truck route from 1926 to around 1956. Gradually replaced by interstates into the 1980s, Route 66 became forever fixed in the history and lore of the Southwest and the United States. Route 66 provides a unique vantage point from which to better understand American popular culture from the 1920s to the present.

The purpose of this book is not to simply recount the history of Route 66, but to create a comprehensive portrait of the cultural meaning of the highway. What was Route 66 at its pinnacle, what is it today, and what might it become in the future?


Peter B. Dedek is assistant professor in the department of family and consumer sciences, Texas State University, San Marcos.


"...well-written, well-reasoned, and will spark thought in the most seasoned roadie. Highly recommended."


Route 66 News

"Peter B. Dedek has written one of the few really honest books about the history and culture...of U.S. 66."


Southwestern American Literature

"Dedek promotes the idea of Route 66 as a landscape of historical and cultural significance that should be preserved as a geographic entity. Highly recommended for all collections."


Library Journal

"...a concise, thought-provoking study of why Route 66 captures Americans' imagination and loyalty...


Montana the Magazine of Western History

" extraordinary work that combines solid scholarship with sound analysis....Anyone planning to take a nostalgic trip to the old highway should read this book before leaving home."


Journal of Arizona History

"...a good introduction to Route 66's history, its cultural landscapes and the need and ways to preserve it. The book would work well in an undergraduate course on the West or Southwest."


New Mexico Historical Review

"This book will enlighten anyone with an interest in the cultural meaning of Route 66."


New Mexico Magazine

"...a worthwhile book. It should be in the library of anyone concerned with the history of American highways, or that of anyone interested in America's early automobile culture."


Journal of American Cultures

"Capturing the changing cultural impact of Route 66 is an ambitious goal.... Hip to the Trip is an engaging read."


Galveston County Daily News

"Dedek surveys what Route 66 has come to mean in US pop culture...recommended for all libraries."


CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries

"...Dedek's book is not just another Route 66 book. By using contemporary sources and comparative analysis, Dedek provides a clear view of what Route 66 really means to the country as a cultural icon and as an authentic cultural resource."


The Chronicles of Oklahoma

6 x 9 in. 184 pages 14 color plates, 20 halftones