Ghost Riders: Travels with American Nomads

By Richard Grant

Ghost Riders is Grant's justification and account of his many years on the road, as well as an attempt to analyse the nomadic impulse. It combines the history of the conquistadors, the native Americans and the white European settlers with stories of Grant's encounters with fellow drifters, hobos, rodeo-riders, cave-dwellers, tramps, buckskinners, "Geritol Gypsies" and almost every other kind of American borderline psychotic and itinerant, although he doesn't touch "golf professionals who spend their lives on tour", corporate executives or Keanu Reeves (who apparently lives out of his on-set trailers). Grant keeps it pure, and "the pure nomad", he notes, "is the poor nomad".

This is all very - very - interesting, but what will really sell the book are Grant's passing, throw-away descriptions of all-night truckstops on the outskirts of Albuquerque, or stopping off for some smokes in Las Cruces. He has tapped into a common, if not quite a universal fantasy, and he knows it: "As I write this, a street urchin in Kathmandu, a merchant banker in Bonn and a failed pimp in Caracas are all dreaming about driving across America in a pair of Levi's and a fast car. A factory girl in Liverpool, gutting chickens on a conveyor belt, is dreaming about Thelma and Louise." [read more]

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