What is the summary for A Walk Across America?

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shake99 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Peter Jenkins published A Walk Across America in 1979. The book belongs to the genre of travel adventure literature.

The journey began in Alfred, New York, in 1973 and ended in Florence, Oregon, in 1979. Jenkins himself said of the experience:

I started out searching for myself and my country and found both.

The overall tone of the book is positive and reassuring as Jenkins tells about the people and places he encounters, focusing on America’s “common folks.” At various points he works in a mill in the South, lives with a black family in North Carolina, and, a year and a half into his journey, attends a revival in Mobile, Alabama. During this revival, Jenkins, who was reporting for National Geographic at the time, is himself saved. (He was interviewed about this experience in Christianity Today in 2003. See the link below.)

The journey was not without tragedy. Jenkins began his walk accompanied by his dog, Cooper, who died on the way.

Jenkins’ theme is that America is still a great country, but it is the common people of America, the millions of the nearly anonymous, who make America what it is.

The novel’s epigraph reflects Jenkins’ emphasis on inclusion and spirituality with quotations from Genesis and Sioux Indian law.

zeilavaz | Student

A Walk Across America is the genuine story of Peter Jenkins' endeavor to figure out reality of what America is about. Subside begins his story out thinking about whether America merits staying in or on the off chance that it is to degenerate. He will go on a walk from Washington to Louisiana keeping in mind the end goal to answer his inquiries and get some answers concerning American and himself simultaneously.

shmindle | Student

A Walk Across America is a travel book written by Peter Jenkins. This nonfiction book follows Jenkins' journey as he walks from his college town of Alfred, New York, to New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1973, when Jenkins finished college, he had a bad impression of his country. A janitor friend tells Jenkins that he should at least know America before leaving it, so he takes his advice. With his dog Cooper, he begins his journey. Despite the arduous task and harsh environment, Jenkins received kindness. He stayed with many good Samaritans to stop and work whenever he needed money. He is faced with many challenges, such as his dog dying, but finds happiness through faith, friends, and even a wife.

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