The author, while on a train trip through the United States and Canada, describes and comments on the people and places he sees. His reflections – sometimes critical, sometimes comical – are eye-opening and wide in scope. The reader will enjoy Wallace's swats at thoughtless people, cringe at his depictions of animal cruelty, and laugh out loud at the personal predicaments he and his wife confront. Environmental stupidity, life in big cities, foolishness disguised as zealotry, terrorism, and political hacks are just a few of the topics he kicks around using the insight and common sense one might expect from an opinionated old man who's been around. Surprisingly, Wallace conveys warmth and unblushing tenderness – a threat to his crusty reputation.