This moving and intelligent book succeeds as odyssey, as a showcase for its author's skills as an historian, and as a loving appreciation of a land, if not a nation.
--David Roediger, professor of American studies at the University of Kansas and author of The Sinking Middle Class: A Political History
People break rules about talking to strangers when they meet someone with luggage on their bike.
That's what a laid-off Minneapolis professor found when she bicycled the perimeter of the United States seeking to understand the forces moving the country toward less equity, sustainability, and understanding.
In this bicycle memoir, Anne Winkler-Morey collects the stories of hundreds of trail angels who shared their hearts and homes. Over her fourteen-month bicycle tour, Winkler-Morey discovers US regions that are unique in beauty and culture, but similar in the things that ail them: historical trauma, unsustainable economies, inequities, and crippling fears of people outside their borders.
Winkler-Morey is not physically or mentally prepared for the ride. She wants to leave behind the emotional baggage of a past trauma, but even as she rides, it climbs into her panniers.
As Winkler-Morey finds ways to talk back to her ghosts, she discovers that national allegiance is manufactured, but attachment to place is real. Despite the inequality, nativism, and rural-urban divisions that threaten the United States . . . evidence of our mutual self-interest is everywhere.
Allegiance to Winds and Waters mixes the angst and hilarious misadventures of an unlikely bicyclist, poignant stories of the strangers she meets across seemingly unsurpassable political divides, and acute observations of a historian and social activist.
Biking the perimeter of the United States with Winkler-Morey, we meet Americans who graciously share their stories. Many open their homes; even more open their hearts. Allegiance to Winds and Waters shows us how our collective stories can heal us.
--Ruth Voights, professor emeritus at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design
This book is a prayer. A remarkable bicycle journey around and within the boundaries of this vast country, Allegiance to Winds and Waters is a narrative of personal encounters during a politically and morally divisive period of a nation.
--Alex Kuo, American Book Award winner
The hills the cyclists climb, the thunderstorms they survive, and the accidents that interrupt but also structure their journey serve as metaphors for the continuing struggles against inequality and for justice.
--Elizabeth Faue, professor of history at Wayne State University and author of Rethinking the American Labor Movement