Earl Swift

Earl Swift is the author of the forthcoming ACROSS THE AIRLESS WILDS: THE LUNAR ROVER AND THE TRIUMPH OF THE FINAL MOON LANDINGS, due from HarperCollins in July 2021.

He is also the author of seven other books, among them the New York Times best seller CHESAPEAKE REQUIEM (HarperCollins, 2018), the story of an island town threatened with extinction by the very water that has sustained it for 240 years; AUTO BIOGRAPHY (HarperCollins, 2014), a narrative journey through postwar America told through a single old car and the fourteen people who’ve owned it; THE BIG ROADS (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011), an armchair history of the U.S. highway system and its effects, physical and cultural, on the nation it binds; JOURNEY ON THE JAMES (University of Virginia Press, 2001), about a great American river and the largely untold history that has unfolded in and around it; WHERE THEY LAY (Houghton Mifflin, 2003), for which he accompanied an Army archaeological team into the jungles of Laos in search of a helicopter crew shot down thirty years before; and a 2007 collection of his stories, THE TANGIERMAN’S LAMENT (UVa Press). He also co-authored, with Macon Brock, ONE BUCK AT A TIME (Beachnut/John F. Blair, 2017), an insider’s account of Dollar Tree’s rise from loopy idea to retail juggernaut.

Since 2012 he’s been a fellow of Virginia Humanities at the University of Virginia. He lives in the Blue Ridge mountains west of Charlottesville.

Books in order of publication:

Journey on the James: Three Weeks Through the Heart of Virginia – 2001

Where They Lay: A Forensic Expedition in the Jungles of Laos – 2005

The Tangierman’s Lament: And Other Tales of Virginia – 2007

The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways – 2011

Auto Biography: A Classic Car, an Outlaw Motorhead, and 57 Years of the American Dream – 2014

One Buck at a Time: An Insider’s Account of How Dollar Tree Remade American Retail – 2017

Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island – 2018

Across the Airless Wilds: The Lunar Rover and the Triumph of the Final Moon Landings – 2021

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