Killer On The Road: Violence And The American Interstate (Discovering America)
Publish Date: 2014-02-15
Author: Ginger Strand
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Starting in the 1950s, Americans eagerly built the planets largest public work: the 42,795-mile National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. Before the concrete was dry on the new roads, however, a specter began haunting themthe highway killer. He went by many names: the Hitcher, the Freeway Killer, the Killer on the Road, the I-5 Strangler, and the Beltway Sniper. Some of these criminals were imagined, but many were real. The nations murder rate shot up as its expressways were built. America became more violent and more mobile at the same time.
Killer on the Road tells the entwined stories of Americas highways and its highway killers. Theres the hot-rodding juvenile delinquent who led the National Guard on a multistate manhunt; the wannabe highway patrolman who murdered hitchhiking coeds; the record promoter who preyed on ghetto kids in a city reshaped by freeways; the nondescript married man who stalked the interstates seeking women with car trouble; and the trucker who delivered death with his cargo. Thudding away behind these grisly crime sprees is the story of the interstateshow they were sold, how they were built, how they reshaped the nation, and how we came to equate them with violence.
Through the stories of highway killers, we see how the killer on the road, like the train robber, the gangster, and the mobster, entered the cast of American outlaws, and how the freewayconceived as a road to utopiacame to be feared as a highway to hell.