By Jan Morris

Clean from her profitable scoop reporting the 1st ascent of Everest in 1953, Jan Morris spent a 12 months touring around the usa, via motor vehicle, teach, send and aeroplane. In herwords a "period piece", Coast to Coast describes an American id markedly assorted from this present day. In her incredible prose, Morris documents with exuberence and interest a time of innocence within the US - while tv was once in its infancy, the massive Mac had no longer been invented and the preferred track of the day used to be "Chattanooga Choo-Choo".

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Sample text

There is a row of unpretentious shops, and a couple of drug stores, and an eighteenth-century inn where the turkey is excellent, and where Washington is alleged to have spent a night. There is also a small school of music, from where you may sometimes hear, even on skating nights, the strains of thin and ill-disciplined melody. It is a fairly well-heeled village, and there is a good deal of comfort in these white houses. Everyone has a refrigerator, of course, and a television set, and a washing machine; many people also possess dishwashers, gadgets for making waste matter swill away down the sink, toy buses that steer themselves electronically when you shout at them, radios that wake you up with a cup of coffee, pink telephones, devices that change the TV channel by a radio impulse from your armchair, microphones to transmit the sounds of sleepless babies.

It may be Sir Lindsey, sliding pomaded towards the Trusteeship Council with a perceptible creaking of costume, his face creased but undaunted by responsibility, his eyes unobtrusively on the watch for fellers he’d rather not bump into. It may be Mr. Komobo, entering the room in a gorgeous striped liquefaction of robes, his sandals slip-slopping softly across the carpet, on his head a multi-coloured skull-cap, in his hand a very expensive fountain-pen, in his wake a covey of obsequious applicants.

Its girls, in svelte blue skirts, saris or Chinese tunics, are all extraordinarily beautiful and unbelievably nice: if ever you spot one examining a colleague’s couture, it is only with an expression in her eyes of unfailing sisterly affection. Nor do the men seem to suffer from any of the usual human failings. They are splendid of physique, tireless of energy, never hot, harassed or impatient, and they answer your every query with unvarying, smiling, anonymous, almost robot-like goodwill. They are a supernal breed.

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