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Or is our instinctive feeling that homogenisation is undesirable, that big business is synonymous with evil, correct? Then why do we continue to embrace and thrive in an increasingly uniform, rigorously regimented, branded and blanded world? All these questions and more are left unanswered by True Stories: Dave Gorman in America Unchained More4 , the story of the high-concept comedian 's attempt to drive across America without giving any money to The Man. He plans to evade the grasping tentacles of corporate America by buying petrol only at independent gas stations, sleeping only at independent motels and dining only at "Mom and Pop"-style eateries.

You would hope that this would result in an illuminating examination of why, in the 21st century, such an attempt is an outlandish proposition. Or you might set your sights a little lower and at least hope that a 4,mile trip across a country that, to my certain knowledge thanks to a Channel 4 documentary last year that people assure me I did not hallucinate , is home to at least one Benedictine monk with a recently installed vagina, would yield a bounteous crop of entertaining eccentrics along the way.

Analysis of how the western world became the denatured, deracinated, detextured place it is today was eschewed in favour of simply finding the next independent petrol station.


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The film rapidly became the very simple and not noticeably enthralling story of one man and his gas tank. Watch Dave pass his billionth Exxon forecourt as his fuel gauge hovers at the quarter-full mark! Prop your eyes open with independent guesthouse toothpicks as Dave calculates how many miles he can wait before getting worried about finding the next non-corporate filling station just in time! Attempt to care as Dave's luck runs out and he has to hand over 20 bucks at an Amoco till! Suppress all desire to point out to Dave that he is not being sold petroleum hand-refined according to an old pioneer recipe by the cuddly independent owners and may not be quite as free of The Man as he hopes!

The eccentrics were also a bust. The owner of the motel built in the shape of a beagle looked promising, but turned out to be a sober and reflective man. The first was when an Amoco employee towed him five miles to the station and dismissed his enquiries about a call-out charge with a cheery: Independent motels treat their entry-level employees no better than anyone else! More than 5, tedious miles and 90 even more tedious minutes later, he finally reached the east coast - like his audience, sadder but no wiser.

You could see some of the anguish and struggles he had. I love Gorman's books he is a natural born writer and has a great wit about him. His books are amusing to read, easy to follow and unputdownable. I loved this book as i got a really good sense of the travels he was on and how he was feeling at the time. The book is very witty and funny, easy to relate to and easy to get into. You could tell all the issues he had, and are slightly jealous that he gets to make such a remarkable trip.

The people he meets, some friendly some not, and you get a true feel to where he is and how he is feeling. A great book, I can't really fault it. Aug 27, Dane Cobain rated it really liked it. America Unchained tells the true story of one man, his car and his mission; the man is British comedian Dave Gorman, the car is a Ford Torino and the mission is to travel across America from coast to coast without giving any money to The Man.

So I urge you to read the book, to watch the D. Dec 27, Dan rated it really liked it Shelves: I found this book and thought it might be worth a read. Therefore he has to stay in independent hotels, get gas from independent gas stations and eat at independent diners. Of course this is easier said than done, and what's more he Dave Gorman has recently become a new hero of mine when I saw his TV show "Modern Life is Goodish".

Of course this is easier said than done, and what's more he agreed to take a director with him to film it all for a TV show. It turns out Gorman is the perfect person for travel writing. He is very funny and regularly made me chuckle to myself when reading this. But at the same time he also manages to give you a very good sense of the atmosphere of a place, something few travel writers ever successfully manage to achieve.

From the town which smells of dead cows to the treehouse hotel to the Mormon-filled Salt Lake City you really feel you have a sense of what each place is really like. Also Gorman's description of Mormonism is both educational and hilarious- it's a good feeling when you feel you have learnt something and enjoyed it.

Dave Gorman: Why Coffee has ruined Tea...

My only criticism is that some parts of the journey weren't particularly interesting. Not much really happened in the third part of the book apart from the car breaking down. I realise this is not really Gorman's fault, he can only write about what actually happened but much like Gorman with the journey, I just felt I wanted to get through the final stages and finish.

I really liked having the photos there- the book could have done with more of them but no doubt that would have increased the publishing cost. Fortunately plenty more photos are to be found on Gorman's website here. A good travel book which is very funny and catches the atmosphere perfectly. If only the journey itself had been a little more interesting! Apr 24, David Jones rated it really liked it Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.

To view it, click here. My Review from http: I find his writing style very amicable and easy to pick up and the diary like nature of the journey makes it very easy to get involved in the story. Discarding the fi My Review from http: It's impossible to outline the story without ruining the book so I won't bother but suffice to say there is comedy moments, moments that will make you shudder and even some that will move you. The thing is it reaches a point where you absolutely want him to succeed in his quest and the times when things are flagging or his resolve is waning, you want to urge him on to complete his task.

The reread value is where the book is let down, not quality as such but because it is a true story with a beginning a middle and an end. Jun 02, Andrew rated it really liked it Shelves: The third Dave Gorman book I have read and if he can keep with the interesting premises hopefully it's not the last. In this book which was also filmed so there's an accompanying DVD to seek Dave travels the US with the idea of avoiding major chain hotels,restaurants and gas stations In fai The third Dave Gorman book I have read and if he can keep with the interesting premises hopefully it's not the last.

In fairness Dave does manage pretty well with this task.. I guess it wouldn't have been much of a book if he hadn't.. In a increasingly globalised chain driven society a book like this is great for showing their is an alternative and that maybe we need the corporate titans so we can appreciate that.

It would be interesting to see if Dave was ever to revisit this journey in a decade or so just to see how many of the independent businesses he used remained and how things may have changed again Anyhow I digress which can only tell you how much this book has got me thinking Is it possible to travel from one coast of the US to the other without giving any money to The Man? This is the question that Dave Gorman posed to himself after a tour of the States where he was taken from one identical hotel room to another to perform.

So to counteract this, he decides to start in LA and travel to New York using only independent motels, diners, grocery stores and, most problematically, gas stations. I find Dave Gorman a very entertaining writer, and this book had me laughing out Is it possible to travel from one coast of the US to the other without giving any money to The Man? I find Dave Gorman a very entertaining writer, and this book had me laughing out loud at several points. In saying that, I do sometimes feel somewhat guilty at laughing since I feel that I'm laughing at a man who has some genuine psychological issues.

Half way through this book, he has a bit of a breakdown. Like he did in Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure. Like his obsessive search for namesakes in Are You Dave Gorman. There's enough good humour and genuine enthusiasm in the man to make you care about his journey.


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  • Even when he is being an idiot. Jun 25, Rebecca rated it liked it Shelves: Someone left a whole bunch of travel books that I have been dying to read and usually I am very good about only swapping one for one because I don't want to be grabby, but I had to grab more then my share one day, because I just wanted to read them all! I put back books as a read them without taking more later. And this book was one of them. I had read something by this author in the past and liked it, so of course, I had to pick this up too. It was about a British guy who drove across the US by not using anything that had to do with chains and big corps when it came to his car, gas, eating and lodging to see if he could do it.

    It was a really interesting read and funny too. Plus, since they were financing the project, he had nearly unlimited time and money to dick around with, which is why chains exist in the first place, to make things cheap for the rest of us! All these types of books run the same pattern. A good travel read. I bought this book as holiday reading, expecting a humorous travel book, and though the humour is there, it proved to be more of a straight tale - but was none the worse for that.

    After suffering a comedy tour staying in bland chain hotels, Dave Gorman decided to try to cross America from coast to coast without giving any money to 'the Man', avoiding chain hotels, chain restaurants and chain filling stations. As is often the case with these kind of books, the car itself regularly breaking down I bought this book as holiday reading, expecting a humorous travel book, and though the humour is there, it proved to be more of a straight tale - but was none the worse for that.

    As is often the case with these kind of books, the car itself regularly breaking down is one of the main characters, as is the video cameraperson who is Dave's companion as he attempts this remarkable feat. Despite a total disaster part way through which reduces the vegetarian author to eating three burger meals, one each from McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy's in protest, with dire consequences the feeling is mostly upbeat, and inevitably provides a fascinating exploration of small town America: While I would have appreciated a touch more humour, as Bill Bryson managed so well in his early travel books, Gorman kept my interest throughout and made his remarkable road trip well worth the read.

    If you'd like to find out more about small-town America and how it is disappearing from a British viewpoint, it's highly recommended. Oct 22, Plum-crazy rated it liked it. To be fair I probably didn't do this book justice in the way I read it. It's been what I call a "bathroom" book 'nuff said!

    On the whole an amusing enough read.

    Feb 05, Pierre rated it liked it. I like Dave Gorman. I like his gently intellectual, yet inclusive comedy. I've liked his books before. It feels like the framework of the road trip hinders what could have been a much more interesting set of anecdotes, but instead those are spread thinly and danced through quickly and interspersed with a lot of very dry travelogue about places I will never go and have no desire to go. It also doesn't feel like it makes much of a point about commercial and cultural homogenis I like Dave Gorman.

    It also doesn't feel like it makes much of a point about commercial and cultural homogenisation. Particular since the boom of independent, artisanal culture here in the UK of recent years. It wasn't bad, I just know that Dave has had more interesting adventures, and written about them in a more entertaining way elsewhere.

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    Jun 05, Kirstin rated it really liked it. Loved reading it as have grown to like small town America as well on our trips and the kindness and friendliness of the people he encounters except Mississippi it seems does agree with my view of America too and why I like spending my holidays there too. More photos of this trip are on his website which I can only recommend to other readers to check out because they are brilliant. Jul 29, Andrew rated it really liked it Shelves: This was a really enjoyable read. I bought the DVD at the same time as the book, but decided to read the book first.

    His agent suggested making a film too, and the film almost becomes the downfall of the project.

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    America Unchained: A Freewheeling Roadtrip In Search Of Non-Corporate USA

    Typically Dave Gorman, this book witty, silly, sad, happy - it's just a great read. And like all long journeys, it suddenly ends. Suddenly This was a really enjoyable read. Dec 30, Scot Haynes rated it really liked it Shelves: Read this book a couple of years ago. Subsequently I then purchased the video. It's such a shame that the old 'Mom and Pop' businesses are disappearing in the US and Dave goes all out to try and discover those that are all still in business. It has some great highs and lows, especially when Dave gets so low that he foresakes his vegetarianism and has a burger one night and then regrets it.

    If you've ever fancied doing a road trip in the USA then this is a book you simply have Read this book a couple of years ago. If you've ever fancied doing a road trip in the USA then this is a book you simply have to read. Nov 11, Carla rated it it was amazing Shelves: This brought back so many memories of our numerous road trips and especially crossing America the other way on the Lewis Clark trail. We have experienced the flatness of the mid-west, the smell of dead cows when we were in Dodge City, the uniqueness and infinite diversity of the American people and the sheer beauty of the Rockies, the Pacific Ocean, the Blue Ridge mountains and so much more.

    This book reminded me how much I love America and long to go back-even if it is only three months since This brought back so many memories of our numerous road trips and especially crossing America the other way on the Lewis Clark trail. This book reminded me how much I love America and long to go back-even if it is only three months since our last visit although I am happy to go in a nice new reliable SUV Jun 19, Pj rated it really liked it Shelves: Every so often I wish I was the type of person who knew every local place and had a mom and pop store for every need.

    Dave Gorman's book America Unchained made me want to be that kind of person again. It is a wonderful memoir of his coast to coast mission across the US while striving to spend not one cent at a place operated by "the man". This does what I want books to do: Jul 30, Amy rated it liked it. I picked up this book while backpacking through SE Asia at a one-for-one trade bookshop. The premise intrigued me because I have been away from the USA for over 5 months and I have to admit, I am not thrilled with returning to the land of The Man.

    His insights into American culture were spot on and his predictions might just be too. I enjoyed learning more about my own country from an Englishman! All the eccentric, friendly, scary, and beautiful pieces of it. Nov 07, Mark Warner rated it liked it Shelves: I usually enjoy Dave Gorman's books and I really enjoyed the start of this There was also a lot of factual information towards the end It all came to an abrupt finish, but I suppose that was the nature of the journey. It took me a few months to read this Feb 10, Ginni Brinkley rated it really liked it. Dave's Googlewhack Adventure is my favourite of his books, and I liked it so much that almost inevitably no other DG book is going to be as good.

    I laughed a lot at the Googlewhack book, but America Unchained had fewer laughs. It was still typical Dave, slightly unchained perhaps, and still very readable. It made me nostalgic for the Sundae Affair ice cream parlour I visited in California when I was 11 I've never had better ice cream! Aug 11, Jane rated it really liked it. Mainly read this because I am going to drive across the USA next year and thought this would give me some tips.

    Last night's TV: True Stories: Dave Gorman in America Unchained

    The book is hugely amusing. Basically Dave Gorman wants to drive from the west coast to the east coast without using any chain hotels, restaurants and petrol stations. He also does the trip in a very old Ford Torino Estate car which keeps breaking down. I have not laughed so much in ages. Also found the stories of how helpful the American people were to be very touching. Aug 20, Jon Shanks rated it really liked it. Join Me, Yes Man, etc. You'll have to read it to find out, which is certainly a journey that I recommend!

    America Unchained () - IMDb

    Nov 22, Jana Eichhorn rated it it was amazing. This book, and why I loved it, can be summed up in the following quote from the last chapter: The chains offer us a world in which average things are guaranteed I'd rather live in a world in which fabulous things are possible. I'll take a rollercoaster instead of a train. Dec 09, Katie rated it really liked it Shelves: This book made me want to run away and travel across America Very witty book although a little bit repetitive at times and he seems to moan about stupid things and you wish you could shake him and shout 'Lighten up!

    A nice light read. I wouldn't recommend reading it if you are mormon though!