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The Kindness of Strangers: Penniless Across America [Kindle Edition]

Mike McIntyre
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Product Description

From Amazon

A road-trip and self-discovery book with a difference: McIntyre hitchhiked across America with no money, accepting only the "kindness of strangers"--rides, food, shelter, and the occasional beer. This book grew on me with every page, just as McIntyre's feelings for the ordinary people he met grew with every mile. Few books I've read since Studs Terkel's Hard Times (a classic oral history about the Great Depression) so effectively captured the day-to-day lives of typical Middle Americans, with all their strengths and weaknesses. Highly Recommended.

From Publishers Weekly

McIntyre decided to confront his fears and the shaky path his life was taking by hitchhiking from San Francisco to Cape Fear, N.C. Along the way, he hoped to find some kindness in the soul of America and vowed to accept no money, only food, shelter and friendship. Rather like William Least-Heat Moon's Blue Highways or Andrei Codrescu's Road Scholar, The Kindness of Strangers is the story of those who help and hinder his journey: the vast array of kind souls and weirdoes, as well as Americana at its best and worst. He stays a night with Edie, who cares for her brain-damaged granddaughter yet happily takes him in. A woman with a tear-shaped tattoo teaches him to feel at home in nature, not to fear the dark woods where he sometimes sleeps. He finds a sense of family on a ranch in South Dakota and meets a couple who give him a tent, although it is one of their most valuable possessions. Not everyone along the way is kind and generous, and there are plenty of strangers with dark ulterior motives. Exhausted and road-weary, he finally arrives in Cape Fear and realizes that it is a misnomer: "The name is as misplaced as my own fears. I see now that I have always been afraid of the wrong things. My great shame is not my fear of death, but my fear of life." McIntyre writes eloquently and rekindles optimism in America's character.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1318 KB
  • Print Length: 261 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Kite Press (Jan. 10 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004183KI6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #112,606 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Up lifting must read Sept. 19 2001
I have purchased numerous copies of this book to give to friends. After recently rediscovering book and reading for 5th time I was checking amazon to see if Mike McIntyre has any other titles. I felt compeled to write a review. In light of the recent World Trade center attack I really need something that confirmed my belief that good people are all around us. It really lifted me out of my gloom. A++++
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Kindness of Strangers... June 12 2000
This book reminds me a little of Scott Savage's book (A Plain Life: Walking My Belief), although the author is not a Quaker. Reading one chapter in another book was enough to draw me to this title.
At 37, Mike McIntyre was an established journalist, with a good job in San Francisco, a girlfriend, a nice apartment. His job enabled him to travel all over the world, but he felt moved to leave it all behind, and travel by the grace of others from the West Coast to Cape Fear, North Carolina. He feels he's a coward, that he's afraid to take a gamble with anything...neither of these being words that describe Quakers. But his feeling that an inner voice is telling him to do this, and his conviction to go ahead despite less than encouraging words from his family ("you'll get raped," his own grandmother tells him) are, to me, a spiritual calling. He says he will not take money, not even if he finds it on the road in front of him. He sets out, wary but determined to go. Like Scott Savage's need to turn over his already expired driver's license, McIntrye has picked his destination as a symbolic gesture. "If I make it to Cape Hope," he says, "it will be as a different man from the one who starts the journey. I am afraid."
Right out the door, he finds himself a fill-in guest house on a talk show ("Life in the Country") on a local radio station. He isn't alone as a guest - his new partner is a tall, blond with red lipstick and high heels, a firefighter named Diana, who used to be named Dennis. The book is full of strange encounters, and is an interesting read, to put it mildly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars inspirational Aug. 12 1998
By A Customer
I bought this book only days before I left on my own roadtrip across the country. I honestly didn't think that anyone else had expressed the exact same fears that I had when leaving my life behind. Between this book and my own travels, my faith in humanity was restored. There are still good people in this land that will take you in and feed you, even tho' you've met them minutes before. I lost this book during my travel to someone whom I know needed it, and I don't regret that loss. It's always given as a gift to anyone who asks me about what it was like on the road for 6 months with only $1,000. I currently cannot survive without a roadtrip every 2-3 months now. To quote the book, "Hell... maybe you'll find Utopia out there and won't want to come back."
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By A Customer
So, you think you're broke? Imagine setting out to cross America on foot, with nothing in your fact, no wallet. Relying entirely on "the kindness of strangers." This is the challenge that journalist/author Mike McIntyre set for himself, and his adventures into the heart (and soul) of
America are recorded in this highly addictive and uplifting book. With sharp, concise writing, McIntyre describes his encounters with various people who helped him, and draws strength from their simple acts of kindness and grace. The book is a quick read, and makes a terrific gift, particularly since it's a friendly-sized paperback.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Travel books don't come any better Nov. 23 1999
I was in a trance from page one right through the epilogue. The author had the guts to do what so many of us are terrified of doing--to leave our lives for a couple of months, to step away and challenge our biggest fears. He describes his experience in a straightforward, no-punches-pulled manner that puts the reader right into his shoes. The reader sees "the real America"--a believable America, sees Life sliced right open, sees himself or herself vicariously exposed. The book shows heart, humor, whimsy, commitment, strength, vulnerability. A moving tale. A gift. I'd give it six stars if I could.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A King In This Genre Dec 17 1999
I am predisposed to liking books in this genre in which a person goes through some form of travel odyssey or ordeal and emerges that bit changed. "The Kindness of Strangers - penniless across America" is one of the best in its class and in my view I'd rank it among others like "Castaway" by Lucy Irvine, "Sea Change" by Peter Nicholls or "Adrift" by Steven Callahan. Now I'm left just wanting to know what happened to Mike McIntyre subsequently and how did he come to write the book in Guatamala. Above all, does he have more work in the pipeline?
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5.0 out of 5 stars refreshing glimpse of American spirit Nov. 24 2001
By A Customer
in light of recent events this book shed a ray of light on the dimming light of humanity in our world. A man leaves home with only identification and hitch hikes across the country relying only on the "kindness of strangers." Although he clearly points out that were he not male and caucasion the outcome could have been much different, the story is still heart warming. I have recommended this to sooo many friends and all have thanked me profusely for helping them search their hearts and souls with out being battered with questions of faith.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Enjoyed every minute of mike's journey!
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Makes me ashamed not only to be American, but to be human
What a godawful story about the scum and dregs of humanity as experienced by one hitch hiker. Even worse, the book was neither entertaining nor particularly well written. Read more
Published on Aug. 7 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow.
An incredible reading experience. I'm envious of Mike's journey and his experiences. I just finished the book about an hour ago, and I'm still awestruck. Wow.
Published on Aug. 23 1999 by
5.0 out of 5 stars Rebuilding Faith in America and the People who make it home!
Mike's travels lend a wonderful uplifting sensation to the American Dream and America as a whole. A must read for people interested in America. Read more
Published on Aug. 12 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars A breath-taking journey into America's soul.
I couldn't put this fast paced and beautifully written book down. It's not only fun and exciting, it made me feel like I was right there with the author the whole way from the... Read more
Published on Sept. 20 1998
1.0 out of 5 stars ...lots of great travel books. This isn't one of them.
I love travel books. Peter Jenkins, Charles Kuralt, Robert Persig traveled across America and met people, some "normal," some characters, all Americans. Read more
Published on Sept. 7 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, insightful, humerous, genuine.
Mike Mcintyre has managed to put a little bit of hope back into the human race after a tremendous journey. Read more
Published on Aug. 2 1998 by
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