The Long Haul

The Long Haul

A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road

Book - 2017
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More than thirty years ago, Finn Murphy dropped out of college to become a long-haul trucker. Since then he's covered more than a million miles packing, loading, and hauling people's belongings all over America. Known by his trucker handle as U-Turn, he spends his days (and many of his nights) in a 53-foot eighteen-wheeler he calls Cassidy.In The Long Haul, Murphy offers a trucker's-eye view of America on the move. Going far beyond the myth of the American road trip, he whisks readers down the I-95 Powerlane, across the Florida Everglades, in and out of the truck stops of the Midwest, and through the steep grades of the Rocky Mountains. As he crisscrosses the country, Murphy recounts with wit, candor, and charm the America he has seen change over the decades, from the hollowing-out of small towns to changing tastes in culture and home furnishings.Some 40 million Americans move each year, and very few have any idea what they're getting into or the kind of person to whom they are relinquishing their worldly goods. The Long Haul is also a behind-the-scenes look at the moving industry, revealing what really happens when we call in "the movers."Through it all, Murphy tells poignant, funny, and often haunting stories of the people he encounters on the job: a feisty hoarder in New Hampshire; a Virginia homeowner raging when Murphy's truck accidentally runs down a stand of trees; an ex-banker in Colorado who treats Finn and his crew with undisguised contempt; a widow who needs Murphy to bring her archeologist husband's remains and relics to a Navajo burial ceremony in New Mexico. These experiences inspire Finn's memorable reflections on work, class, and the bonds we form with the things we own and the places we live.Brimming with personality and filled with great characters, The Long Haul is a resonant portrait of the enduring appeal of manual labor in the dark underbelly of the American Dream.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : W.W. Norton & Company, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780393608717
Characteristics: xxiii, 229 pages ; 25 cm
Call Number: B MURPHY, F

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CCPL_Carly Feb 03, 2020

In an intriguing blend of human interest stories and trucking minutiae, this narrative is a journey that few experience. With humorous trucker lingo and a fascinating explanation of the hierarchy between different types of drivers, this is a truly memorable "road trip" story. Recommended for readers of other memoirs about professions.

s
sloopie72
Sep 14, 2019

I saw the author in a PBS interview and was curious about the book. It's very enjoyable. Turns out he's a long-haul mover, rather than the kind of trucker I was thinking of, but that made it all the more interesting since i was about to move! He has some great insights into human behavior (I don't agree with all of them, but he makes his case) and shows what someone with a lot of motivation can do.

k
kleesiebels
Mar 13, 2019

Rec by Rich Mendrop 3/2019

b
BayouJohn
Mar 07, 2019

Finn takes us on a journey of America that is mundane, depressing, frightening, maddening, inexplicable and amusing out on the "big slab". Part living in a truck on the interstate, eating bad truck stop food, with the schedule and the turn always looming and only bad/ roads, directions, shippers, dispatchers, weigh stations, weather, mountain passes and other hurdles to stand in the driver's way of being on time and making money. However, there has been lots written about life on the slab and most people probably realize by now that the romance of the road, if it ever really existed, definitely ended with gps big brother tracking. Maybe the more interesting part of his story is the relationship between the moving crew and the shippers. There is stress aplenty on all sides. Finn shows us much about the psychology, pride, anger, loss, frustration in play and overheated concern for (mostly) ordinary stuff -- most of which is not worth the cost of moving, in his view. The art of sizing up the home's contents then packing the load properly in tiers, while maximizing the space in the van puts the movers skills on display. There is more to this than meets the eye. Backing a 53 foot trailer up a curving steep driveway is no snooze fest either. Having spent a college summer working for a moving company, and often helping itinerant long haul truckers, Finn's tales are about how I remember my brief brush with this life...thankless, long hours and back breaking work in all kinds of weather. It's an interesting read, funny and well told tales of this unusual life.

j
jackmelba
Aug 15, 2018

Enjoyable and educational read.

t
tmb32v
Jun 07, 2018

Much better than I thought it would be. This is an easy, well-written book about an industry I knew very little about. I learned that the work is hard, but the money can keep drivers on the road for years.

p
patcarstensen
Jan 21, 2018

The author doesn't mention it except in the acknowledgments, but he is the son of the creator of the Prince Valiant cartoon. In contrast to a comment below, I found the introduction compelling.

c
carolelliott
Dec 06, 2017

Written by a long haul trucker this book is less than it could be. The parts of the author's life as a long haul mover and later an executive mover are fascinating and I learned a lot about what movers actually do. As a military "brat", my family moved a lot -- now I have a better understanding of all the things that happened during our various moves. My mother said she lived in 21 apartments and homes in 19 years. I grew up moving.
The book is detailed and readable -- but he leaves out a large part of his life when he wasn't a long haul mover. He also leaves out most of his personal life - if he had one. All that said - it was an good, fast and informative read. If you've moved a lot or may be moving -- give this a look. I would have liked more personal information and what it was like to drive across the United States for so many years. I enjoyed his descriptions of the "shipper" i.e. the client/person being moved. Some of them are unbelievably awful to the movers and others incredibly generous and understanding. I follow a couple of trucker vlogs but none of them are movers like the author.

m
MT60
Sep 20, 2017

Hard to put this book down. Crisp writing on extreme experiences. Indeed a long-haul mover gains rare insights into the human condition.

2
2rosedale2
Sep 16, 2017

Interesting book. Well worth reading.

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