The Long Haul
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.

The Long Haul Details

TitleThe Long Haul
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseJun 6th, 2017
PublisherW. W. Norton Company
ISBN0393608719
ISBN-139780393608717
Number of pages256 pages
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography, Travel, Biography Memoir, Adventure

The Long Haul Review

  • Lynne Spreen
    June 13, 2017
    What a good book. It's the memoir of an autodidactic gentleman trucker. I'd rank it right up with Hillbilly Elegy by J.D.Vance. A thoughtful view of America from ten feet up in a Freightliner, hauling furniture cross-country. The writing is excellent and the narrator impressive and relatable. Here's a sample:"A Jake brake...sounds like a machine gun beneath my feet as it works to keep 70,000 pounds of steel and rubber under control."Also, this: "I was running north in a convoy with nine other tr What a good book. It's the memoir of an autodidactic gentleman trucker. I'd rank it right up with Hillbilly Elegy by J.D.Vance. A thoughtful view of America from ten feet up in a Freightliner, hauling furniture cross-country. The writing is excellent and the narrator impressive and relatable. Here's a sample:"A Jake brake...sounds like a machine gun beneath my feet as it works to keep 70,000 pounds of steel and rubber under control."Also, this: "I was running north in a convoy with nine other trucks...We flew together for 130 miles doing 65 the whole way...it was wonderful...We all fell into a groove. Everybody was driving well, everybody was professional, everybody was going fast but not crazy fast, and there was a plane of consciousness that we had together. It's the closest thing to a Zen experience I know, except when I'm in my loading trance."And finally: "Terry dropped his trailer and hooked up (another). He pulled away in a glob of diesel smoke and a toot from the air horn. Gone. It's unlikely I'll ever see him again. He was a smart, thoughtful, and defeated man caught in the amber of class, education, and diminished expectations for himself and his progeny."Especially since the last election, many Americans are trying to learn more about their fellow countrymen, and the reality of the life of people they don't interact with. There should be a category of books called, "Learn about the Real America." The Long Haul and Hillbilly Elegy would be on that shelf.
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  • Dorothy Hodder
    March 22, 2017
    I love learning how other people live and how the heavy work of the world gets done. This likable, thoughtful, observant professional mover says most people would be better off to put more importance on the people in their lives and less on their stuff. His stories are informative and reassuring for anyone hiring movers, and motivational to anyone who wants to let go of stuff.This review is based on a free review copy sent to my library by the publisher.
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  • Jim
    June 4, 2017
    I won this book on Goodreads. An interesting look into the life of a trucker. I am glad that I read this book as I once was interested in becoming a trucker myself and was always curious about the life they lead and the things they do. This book is a fascinating glimpse into the very hard and under-appreciated life of a trucker. There are some very memorable stories written in this book.
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  • Wendy
    June 14, 2017
    For someone who's driven through 42 states in the continental US, this book was an absolute delight! The author lives in Boulder so loved all the Colorado references. +1 star for the Conifer shoutout!! Finn, will you come do a book talk at the Denver Public Library???
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  • Joanna Lefave
    May 24, 2017
    I surprisingly enjoyed this book. It is not a book I would typically pick up but I was reading it as an ARC for a literary festival. I think because I knew nothing on the subject going in it was thoroughly entertaining. It's not the most beautifully written book I've read but it is certainly hard to put down. It is a witty account of a life most of us will never know, except maybe from the shippers side. Because of it I would hope we would all be a little more patient with the long haul truckers I surprisingly enjoyed this book. It is not a book I would typically pick up but I was reading it as an ARC for a literary festival. I think because I knew nothing on the subject going in it was thoroughly entertaining. It's not the most beautifully written book I've read but it is certainly hard to put down. It is a witty account of a life most of us will never know, except maybe from the shippers side. Because of it I would hope we would all be a little more patient with the long haul truckers on the road.
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  • Jacquie Vegan-schwartz
    May 5, 2017
    I wasn't sure what to expect when I requested this book to review, but it appeared at the right time to peak my curiosity. My uncle, now 84 years old was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer recently. He was a long distance trucker for most of his life. For my uncle there was no question he loved his job and missed every moment he wasn't on the road. This book appeared a couple of days after my visit with him at the hospital. My curiosity with a truckers life was peaked and so I began the book. Th I wasn't sure what to expect when I requested this book to review, but it appeared at the right time to peak my curiosity. My uncle, now 84 years old was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer recently. He was a long distance trucker for most of his life. For my uncle there was no question he loved his job and missed every moment he wasn't on the road. This book appeared a couple of days after my visit with him at the hospital. My curiosity with a truckers life was peaked and so I began the book. The author is articulate, humorous and portrays a culture that few of us are exposed to. The book was riddled with interesting trivia, history and much more. The author was also just as passionate with this little known career. It was far from boring and I looked forward to reading it until the end. Thanks so much for allowing me the opportunity to review this book.
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  • Jamie
    January 20, 2017
    This is NOT a book I would have read if I weren't assigned it for the Indies Introduce panel, and yet I read the whole damn thing. It's not perfect and the dialogue could use some roughing up (the people all speak in these complete paragraphs - it's strained) but it's genuinely fascinating. Did I need to read a book about long haul movers? No of course not? Was I entertained? Weirdly yes.
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  • S. Murphy
    June 25, 2017
    Oh my gosh, I absolutely loved this book and didn't expect to. Full disclosure: Though we share the same good Irish last name, Finn Murphy and I are not related (in the American sense; of course we are in some way I'm sure a few generations back in Ireland). I happened upon this book, read the reader reviews, and took a chance.If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times; we all have a story, and I love reading about how other people make sense of the world through the events that transpir Oh my gosh, I absolutely loved this book and didn't expect to. Full disclosure: Though we share the same good Irish last name, Finn Murphy and I are not related (in the American sense; of course we are in some way I'm sure a few generations back in Ireland). I happened upon this book, read the reader reviews, and took a chance.If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times; we all have a story, and I love reading about how other people make sense of the world through the events that transpire in their lives, and this is my favorite type of story to read. It's honest and direct. It is not snarky nor did I question whether some scenarios were contrived to add to the flavor of the book. Finn just tells his story without attempting to be inspiring or didactic. He simply weaves the tale in a mostly conversational tone that is humorous at times, downright eloquent at others.The Long Haul is a fascinating read that kept me turning pages and finding excuses to sit down and read another chapter. Bonus points: I learned a lot from this book. Next time I hire movers, I'll buy them lunch.
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  • Geoffrey
    June 20, 2017
    Honesty Alert - I know (and love) the author. I read at night as a bedtime ritual. It helps me transition into sleep. For me, 9PM to 10PM is my book time. I like to have a book I look forward to, that captures me and takes me away to another reality. For the last week that reality has been Long Haul. I couldn't wait for bedtime. I even took the book into my yard for some Father's Day relaxing. This reality tale will school you on the intricacies and requirements of living the long haul life. It' Honesty Alert - I know (and love) the author. I read at night as a bedtime ritual. It helps me transition into sleep. For me, 9PM to 10PM is my book time. I like to have a book I look forward to, that captures me and takes me away to another reality. For the last week that reality has been Long Haul. I couldn't wait for bedtime. I even took the book into my yard for some Father's Day relaxing. This reality tale will school you on the intricacies and requirements of living the long haul life. It's a highly entertaining and informative fast read of what it takes to move families from coast-to-coast. Filled with the wisdom and rectitude of a life spent on the road, it will make you gasp, smile, laugh and cry a little. Put this book on your summer reading list and take a fantastic journey across the country while the kids play in the sand.
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  • Beth
    June 15, 2017
    A fascinating seat beside one of the more experienced, high-end long-haul drivers and movers in the US. Finn's writing is entertaining, compelling, and detailed without being overwhelming. He's honest and respectful--except when it's patently not deserved--of people of all walks of life and portrays life on the road and moving other people's furniture and belongings in a way you don't want to miss.
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  • Thomas Ryan
    June 26, 2017
    20,000 American towns and Finn has drove into most of them and his eye for detail suggests they're all dead men walking other than the College Towns. Like-wise, his Description of the interstate highway system is also spot on and educational. And then there's the funny parts -- this guy is funny! Overall, this is an excellent book about a specific career and modern day America and its people. Highly recommended. Put it alongside John McPhee's "Uncommon Carriers".
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  • David
    June 24, 2017
    Want to know what life is like hauling people's belongings across the country? Read this book. Murphy provides a set of stories that describe life on the road. Murphy is not shy to express his deeply held views on people and the state of our nation. He raises issues that are never revisited and runs into trouble due to his own stubbornness. A neat book to listen to while on a long road trip. Respect the truckers.
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  • Kathy Heare Watts
    June 27, 2017
    A long-haul trucker's memoirs of over thirty years over-the-road experiences.I won an advanced reading copy of this book during a Goodreads giveaway. I am under no obligation to leave a review or rating and do so voluntarily. So that others may also enjoy this book, I am donating it to a senior assisted living facility.
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  • Debby
    July 1, 2017
    If someone wants to be a trucker, read this. Sometimes it gets garbled, but here are the pluses and minuses; some scenic outlooks don't allow trucks - will you see the country? Back breaking work, to be a mover. He really says - it's better to sell it all and start over than pay the $10-30,000. to move it.A change of pace book.
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  • Aaron Dutton
    June 25, 2017
    Easy read about the life of a moving truck driver. It gives some insight into the world of movers and the fraternity of truckers. There wasn't anything particularly gripping or surprising in the book but it was easy to keep going and hard to put down. I wanted to know what was next for Finn.
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  • Betsy
    June 24, 2017
    This is a fascinating and thorough look at the life of a long haul trucker, you know, those guys with whom we share the road. Just the tip not to hang out near their front tires makes the read worthwhile.
  • Kati Polodna
    June 21, 2017
    A solid 4 stars. It's not just about trucking (many funny stories) but also a snapshot of socioeconomic middle America. Highly recommend if you liked Rinker Buck's "The Oregon Trail" book. I read this in one evening.
  • Scott
    June 15, 2017
    A great read and highly entertaining I thoroughly enjoyed it and couldn't put it down. It is a great insight into the world of the long haul driver and their lifestyle. I definitely recommend this for anyone wanting a good enjoyable read.
  • john noxon
    June 13, 2017
    True life of a driver!This is good read for anyone interested in the life of a driver. Factual , concise and kept very real about life on the road. I was never a bedbugger, I was a suicide jockey but a driver is a drive! Thanks for a good read Finn!
  • Stanley Vijayakumar
    June 11, 2017
    Wonderfully written....A nice read....simple style yet very interesting...apt technical details and a wonderful week end read...It's like a collage of road trips...
  • Eric
    June 25, 2017
    Pretty interesting insight into the different trucker factions although it was fairly repetitive. Also felt like the author was trying to justify his career, rather than just convey the story.
  • Lewis
    June 29, 2017
    I am strongly in support of more blue collar memoirs. I did not find the grand bashing of the South nor the intellectual distancing from all the other 'dumb' truckers charming.
  • Tracey
    June 11, 2017
    nonfiction (work as a long-distance mover). An entertaining and informative peek into the working life of a trucker, and into some of the complexities of trucker culture.
  • Fritzov
    June 12, 2017
    Book about a guy driving a truck is as good as you think it would be.
  • Rose Ann
    June 26, 2017
    This is so well-done that it is hard to believe that it is the author's first book! Completely engrossing.
  • Marika
    December 31, 2016
    A bit pompous according to some of my trucker friends. However, I enjoyed reading about the back story of truckers. Maybe there really is a pecking order among truckers.I received an advance copy and was not compensated.
  • Stephanie Crowe
    February 8, 2017
    Who would have thought moving furniture was interesting! Finn's story was great! I learned a lot about bedbuggers and couldn't stop reading until the end! Yea, good job, Finn!I was given a free advanced copy of this book.
  • Pamela
    March 30, 2017
    This book is about what it says in the title, told from the viewpoint of a “bedbugger” which is a long-haul mover. The intro made me realize I had a preconception about truckers. “This guy Finn Murphy could write,” I thought. And, well why not? Just because he drives a truck doesn’t mean he isn’t intelligent. The only “trucker” I really know is very intelligent. Murphy early on tells us in the hierarchy of truckers they are the lowest, and don’t find much comradery with other truckers at the mai This book is about what it says in the title, told from the viewpoint of a “bedbugger” which is a long-haul mover. The intro made me realize I had a preconception about truckers. “This guy Finn Murphy could write,” I thought. And, well why not? Just because he drives a truck doesn’t mean he isn’t intelligent. The only “trucker” I really know is very intelligent. Murphy early on tells us in the hierarchy of truckers they are the lowest, and don’t find much comradery with other truckers at the main stops and fuel stations. The reason he muses later is that they don’t have a regular route, they are all over the country from one day to the next. Without that regular route you don’t establish a strong connection with the waitresses, fuel personnel or other folks that service the trucks that move all of our goods. As I read on I found that while he can turn a phrase his book needed something more, it lacked a little focus or purpose. There are some good stories here, but there just didn’t seem to be the arc of purpose like, why is he writing this book? If it’s just to tell the readers what it’s like driving a truck and being a moving guy, well then that should have been stated goal. But if it was more about, what I suspect it is: why Finn Murphy started to move people’s stuff and what he learned during his life being a mover and trucker, well, the book didn’t end on that note. Close though. And there were moments where the trail was lost. Also there were moments when he had strong social commentary, such as the mom-and-pop business gone, downtown’s gone. While I agree with his sentiment, the way it was told in the book wasn’t the best way to write about it. A stronger way would have been to show what happens, and not create curse words either. Also, there were occasions where the jargon was a little too much, or not explained.Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the book, but it didn’t end up being a five star great book, like I initially hoped it would. I did learn about his life on the road, a few more things about trucks I didn’t know before. I also may look at my stuff in a different light the next time I move.May 3 update: I forgot to thank the publisher for an advance free copy of this book for review. Thank you W.W.Norton!Technically, I did not get a free copy of the book, only temporary access to an electronic copy, but I am grateful for that access. I was not required to write a review, but felt like it and, of course, the above opinions are my own.
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