The Yankee Road: Tracing the Journey of the New England Tribe that Created Modern America, Vol. 1: Expansion


James D. McNiven, PhD is professor emeritus at Dalhousie University where he still teaches on a part-time basis. He is also senior policy research advisor with Canmac Economics Ltd. and a columnist with He has written widely on public policy and economic development issues and is the coauthor of three books.

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Who is a Yankee and where did the term come from? Though shrouded in myth and routinely used as a substitute for American, the achievements of the Yankees have influenced nearly every facet of our modern way of life.

Join author Jim McNiven as he explores the emergence and influence of Yankee culture while traversing an old transcontinental highway reaching from the Atlantic to the Pacific — US 20, which he nicknames “The Yankee Road.” The Yankee Road: Tracing the Journey of the New England Tribe that Created Modern America combines fascinating history with a travel narrative, taking the reader on a journey through the places Yankees and their descendants settled as they expanded westward. Using a physical road to connect locations important to the Yankee cultural “road,” McNiven takes us on twenty-two side trips into individual stories, introducing readers to the origins of such large-scale and diverse ideas as conservation, public education, telegraphy, mass production, religion, and labor reform.

See familiar places and stories in a Yankee light, such as the fight for women’s rights in Seneca Falls and Walden Pond that Thoreau made famous. Learn about less familiar venues like Route 128’s technology companies that led to the creation of the computer industry (and incidentally, the Internet), and to the Worcester suburb of Shrewsbury, where two old women changed the world by making possible the birth control pill. McNiven’s first tour goes as far west as the Pennsylvania-New York border, with more stories to come.

As we travel The Yankee Road, we will meet some of the men and women who made these ideas happen. Harry Truman once said, “I like roads. I like to move.” This is a road book.

Come on along.


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