Such a brilliant book about long haul movers--yep, you read that correctly. Finn Murphy has moved his customers from one place to another for over 20 years. He is in charge and responsible for the packing, stacking, driving, and unpacking at each move he does. Long haul movers know a lot about their customers’ private lives from the clues they leave around to be packed up. It is wise to be nice to them! Along the way, Finn makes some very astute observations about America's heartland and the evolving workforce of today. Completely engrossing and worth the read, even if you don't plan to use movers.— Jason Kennedy
While most folks think moving furniture requires brawn only, a great mover has to use the skills of negotiation (I can’t get from here to there in that amount of time), spatial memory (I don’t have space for all this stuff in my truck), social skills (Why are you moving this crap anyway?) and problem solving (There’s no way I can get my truck up that unpaved hill to your house.) Why are long-haul movers shunned by other truckers? What about the job has changed the makeup of the labor force? And why one bad move can impact the reputation of all movers, unlike, say, the impact of one botched operation on doctors? Murphy, an independent contractor who specializes in high-end locations, is a great storyteller offers shocking, amusing, and sometimes sad tales of moves blended with free-ranging observations of contemporary America. And yes, all questions raised in this recommendation are suitably answered, except that thing about doctors.
— Daniel Goldin
June 2017 Indie Next List
“This memoir of a life spent driving trucks full of strangers' personal belongings across the country is the book I didn't know I needed. Finn Murphy writes engaging slice-of-life stories about his time as a long-haul truck driver while also showing the changes in the trucking industry and American life in the decades he's spent pulling thousands of pounds up mountains, through storms, and across plains. Trucking is a solitary life, but Murphy grabbed me like a friend and took me with him on his journey.”
— Jamie Thomas (E), Women & Children First, Chicago, IL
More than thirty years ago, Finn Murphy dropped out of college to become a long-haul trucker. Since then he's covered more than a million miles packing, loading, and hauling people's belongings all over America. Known by his trucker handle as U-Turn, he spends his days (and many of his nights) in a 53-foot eighteen-wheeler he calls Cassidy.
In The Long Haul, Murphy offers a trucker's-eye view of America on the move. Going far beyond the myth of the American road trip, he whisks readers down the I-95 Powerlane, across the Florida Everglades, in and out of the truck stops of the Midwest, and through the steep grades of the Rocky Mountains. As he crisscrosses the country, Murphy recounts with wit, candor, and charm the America he has seen change over the decades, from the hollowing-out of small towns to changing tastes in culture and home furnishings.
Some 40 million Americans move each year, and very few have any idea what they're getting into or the kind of person to whom they are relinquishing their worldly goods. The Long Haul is also a behind-the-scenes look at the moving industry, revealing what really happens when we call in "the movers."
Through it all, Murphy tells poignant, funny, and often haunting stories of the people he encounters on the job: a feisty hoarder in New Hampshire; a Virginia homeowner raging when Murphy's truck accidentally runs down a stand of trees; an ex-banker in Colorado who treats Finn and his crew with undisguised contempt; a widow who needs Murphy to bring her archeologist husband's remains and relics to a Navajo burial ceremony in New Mexico. These experiences inspire Finn's memorable reflections on work, class, and the bonds we form with the things we own and the places we live.
Brimming with personality and filled with great characters, The Long Haul is a resonant portrait of the enduring appeal of manual labor in the dark underbelly of the American Dream.