Book Review: America Unchained by Dave Gorman

I’ve been a fan of Dave Gorman ever since his very silly TV show where he tried to find 100 other people called Dave Gorman. I’ve also read a couple of his other books, including Too Much Information, which I picked up at a Youth Hostel where I was staying, and left whatever book I had just finished in it’s place. I remember that I was on a six day cycle tour from Lancaster to the Peak District via Liverpool, and for some reason I decided to leave my Kindle at home and only take one book with me.


America Unchained has a simple premise, drive across America without giving any money to the ‘man’; independent grocery stores, gas stations and hotel/motels. Dave’s original idea was to do the trip solo, and then possibly write a book about it. In the end, his trip kind of gets high jacked by his agent/manager, who decides that it would make a great TV show. This requires Dave to be filmed. Fortunately he opts for just a one person film crew. Unfortunately, the one person film crew seriously hurts her back, slowing down the trip until eventually having to pull out, leaving Dave to stew on his own in Moab for ten days. I’ve been to Moab and don’t think that I would get bored cycling and walking the area, but Dave goes a bit stir crazy, leaving the book quite disjointed. The replacement film person, when they arrive, is in a hurry to return to the UK, so the first half of the book meanders nicely, whilst the second half is almost a race to the East Coast.

Dave prefers not to plan too far in advance, and just let the trip happen naturally; to see how it evolves, which would work really well for the book if there wasn’t a plan for a TV show. I believe the book would have been better without wanting to make the TV show at the same time.

I gave this four stars on Goodreads (read about my opinion of Goodreads here) and I did find it entertaining, although I have no desire to hunt out the DVD of the accompanying TV show. Finally, I will be returning the book to the Free Little Library round the corner, where I picked it up many months ago.


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