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History Between The Rest Stops

June 2024
1min read

Ride With Me—Connecticut

RWM Associates (one cassette), 80 mins., $9.95. CODE: RWM-2

Casting around for a new challenge after he retired as director of personnel for the CIA, Robert Magee invented the Ride With Me series of historical cassettes. He believed that America’s long, anonymous stretches of interstate would be less numbing to travelers if they knew what was going by. He enlisted retired CIA analysts to research his series of tapes, which now counts twenty-four, covering seventeen states. Ride With Me—Connecticut makes a cheery driving companion, enlivening 1-91 and 1-95 from Hartford to New York. After a by-the-way discussion of Yankee Congregationalism we hear about the fossil discovery behind Exit 23’s Dinosaur State Park, how Connecticut’s native brownstone supplied New York town houses, and about the local industries in towns that otherwise might whip by unnoticed— Waterbury (brass), Meriden (silverware), Danbury (hats). The blue-domed Hartford building we’d driven past for more than twenty years turned out not to be a Russian Orthodox church but the Samuel Colt factory. The tape also instructs when it should be turned off briefly to accommodate traffic or simply because “people can only listen to spoken word for so long.”

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