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Travels With Samantha
by Philip Greenspun
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This book is about the summer I spent seeing North America, meeting North Americans, and trying to figure out how people live, writes Greenspun after losing his companion. Youll come face to face with examples of the stunning ethnic, scenic, and cultural richness of the continent. Meet both sides of the language war in Montreal, bored youths in the Midwest, North Dakota Harley riders, struggling single mothers in the Yukon, and free spirits in Alaska. Join Greenspun as he travels up the spine of the Rocky Mountains into Canada and then up the Alaska Highway. Splash down in a float plane and spend a week with bears.
From the Author
Travels with Samantha was born of the world's indifference to the World Wide Web and then paradoxically grew to prominence with the Web. The hardcopy edition marks the 7th anniversary of the Internet original.
I drove to Alaska and back in the summer of 1993 because I could not get other researchers at MIT interested in Internet-based applications. North America is not an exotic destination for a North American but I learned far more on this trip than on any taken before or since. Having a common linguistic and cultural background enabled me to quickly identify significantly different points of view.
It is tempting now to go back and "improve" the book. As a society we've learned some things since 1993. As an individual, I've learned some things in making the journey from age 30 to age 37. If I drove the 15,000 miles again without the pressure of having to write 19 chapters I could concentrate on photography. But I've resisted the temptation and Travels with Samantha is more or less the text that I wrote in 1993 and the photos that I took in the stolen hours between driving the car, researching the countryside, talking to people, and writing down their ideas. I think it is more interesting to leave the book as a record of what life was like for a set of people in 1993 and leave literary aspirations to those with literary aspirations.
As a long-time advocate of "if you want a printed copy, come to my Web site and print it out on your laser printer," I'm pleasantly surprised by the way the physical book looks and works. The drum scans and four-color printing, though fantastically expensive, reach levels of quality that is often beyond custom Cibachrome prints that I've had made from the original slides.
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