About The Yankee Road Book Series

Who is a Yankee and where did the term come from? Join author Jim McNiven as he explores the emergence and influence of Yankee culture while traversing an old transcontinental highway, US Route 20, that snakes across the continent from Boston to Oregon, which McNiven nicknames "The Yankee Road." McNiven’s first volume takes us from Boston to Buffalo, while volume 2 carries us from Buffalo to Chicago. The anticipated 3rd book, due Summer 2021, will take us to the west coast where US 20 ends, at Newport, Oregon.

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 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.

US Route 20, The Yankee Road, is America’s longest highway. Along it, or near it, so-called Yankees developed ideas that underlay much of how the world works today. Yankees are not just a biological group, but an American “tribe” that made America what it is.

The Yankee Road - Volume 1: Expansion


The Yankee Road, Volume 1: Expansion is the first in the trilogy, taking us from Boston to Buffalo. 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. There’s the story of Frederick Taylor, “the most important man of the 20th century”. Meet Frances “Mother” Perkins, the most famous politician never elected. Learn how Mr. Remington’s rifle barrels ended up as word processors and how Sibley’s Western Union morphed into Facebook and Twitter. Then there’s Carrier, a day-dreaming Yankee from Angola, New York, who expanded the world through his invention of air conditioning. Visit Batavia, New York, where the west was won, one quarter-section at a time.

Volume 1 is available online in paperback and e-book format from major booksellers, including Amazon, GooglePlay, iBooks, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble and Powell’s. In Canada, you can also get a copy at Chapters Indigo, or visit Foyles in the UK for your copy.

Praise for The Yankee Road, Volume 1

“The Yankee Road is one of those wonderful books that resists easy categorization. Part travelogue, part history, part sociology, it is a book written with a scholar’s approach to knowledge and a novelist’s approach to storytelling. Maybe the best way to describe it is a monologue from the best road trip companion you’ll ever have. Highly recommended.” – Prof Michael Stamm, Michigan State University.

“I rarely reach out to authors of the books I read, but I had to take a brief moment to thank you for writing this amazing book. I became fascinated with the Yankees several years ago, and only over time did I realize just how vast and deep their impact has been on the nation and the world. All that to say, I am so appreciative that you wrote this book.” - Troy Tyson, Indianapolis, IN

“…informative, entertaining, and enormously good reading, with the perspective of someone driving down the highway and wondering out loud.” - Commodore Ken Nason (retired), former Commandant, Canadian Forces College.

The Yankee Road - Volume 2: Domination

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This second volume of a projected trilogy, Domination, centers on the growth of industry around the Great Lakes in the mid-nineteenth century into the twentieth century, something that led to the Yankee victory in the Civil War and the emergence of the reunited country as a major world power. It features the rise of the petroleum industry and the battle between JD Rockefeller and Ida Tarbell over the nature of building a national near-monopoly in that industry. One of Rockefeller’s closest associates left the company and Henry Flagler devoted his time to pushing the development of the tourist industry in Florida. Every fan of western movies knows of the ‘Butterfield stage’, but the reality is a bit different. Did you know John Butterfield never put his name on a stagecoach? Then there is the story of express services, with William F. Harnden pioneering express services carrying packages between cities (shades of FedEx and UPS) only to be succeeded by Henry Wells, William Fargo and John Butterfield when they created American Express and Wells Fargo. These are both financial institutions now, but began by carrying packages. You can read about Mary Gove and Ellen White while you have your breakfast corn flakes, compliments of John and Will Kellogg. Then, hop into your Buick, Ford or Jeep, compliments of Billy Durant, Henry Ford and John Willys and off you go to a State or an A&M College, compliments of Justin Morrill. Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse powered and lit your cellphone and Octave Chanute and his friends, Wilbur and Orville Wright, helped you fly off to that Florida vacation. Then, there are JP Morgan and Judge Elbert Gary, who revolutionized corporate finance and especially, the steel industry. Truly a dominant cast of characters. Even if a couple are not Yankees, they’re worthy of a mention in Volume 2.

Volume 2, released April 2018, is available online in paperback and e-book format from major booksellers, including Amazon, GooglePlay, iBooks, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble and Powell’s. Internationally, you can also check Chapters Indigo in Canada, or Foyles in the UK.