Those of you properly old enough to be in the Passage will immediately identify the opening phrase from one of the most-performed songs of the era, Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind", but the title also evokes the building of the Interstate expressway that displaced New England farms and rural communities, and the 'roads' sought by many youths of the '60s to early '70s—the period documented by the book's ninety-one photographs.
In 120 gorgeously-printed pages, images of fury, tenderness, hope, and the occasional guffaw (if you've ever lived through a VW van's engine fire) evoke more than nostalgia; I wondered, What has remained of that hunger for change? And there is love, too: luminous children, unself-conscious rural beauties, a burnished stove's facade.
|Jonathan Sa'addah and Beth Adams at the book launch|
The book is enriched by several essays; Beth Adams, artist and writer of the blog The Cassandra Pages (and also Jonathan Sa'addah's wife), has contributed a richly descriptive memoir, and I appreciated Hoyt Alverson's timeline; after forty-some years, I no longer recalled the exact sequence of landmark events.
At that time, several hundred miles to the west, I lived through similar demonstrations, homesteads and songs, but my enthusiasm for this book is not strictly time-bound. The photographs witness the ardor of youth in any era, and the trying, exhilarating responsibility of citizenship, regardless of one's country.
"How Many Roads?" is an important documentary work, and at the same time, an artistic pleasure. You can order it here, in soft or hardcover editions, including one with a signed print.