The Big Roads


JOURNEY ON THE JAMES: Three Weeks through the Heart of Virginia

No feature of the American landscape has witnessed so much of the nation’s history as Virginia’s James River: the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown, key battles in three wars, early fights between white settlers and Indians, and the country’s first mines, factories, hospitals, farms and forts. 
Part history, part travelogue, part adventure yarn, Journey on the James sends readers down the 435-mile river in a plastic canoe—and through a past that most of us didn’t read about in school.  

WHERE THEY LAY: Searching for America's Lost Soldiers

In March 1971, an American helicopter exploded in the sky over Laos and fell on ground so busy with North Vietnamese troops that its pilots and gunners were left where they lay—four among the 2,583 servicemen whose bodies remained unrecovered at war’s end.  

Now, thirty years on, a team of soldiers and scientists choppers into the jungle on a search for what remains of Major Jack Barker and his crew. Its mission: dig into ground slick from monsoon rains, among unexploded bombs, vipers and scorpions, to find the four, bring them home and put names—the right names—on their headstones.

THE TANGIERMAN'S LAMENT and Other Tales of Virginia

Two decades of covering the commonwealth have seen Swift hike, canoe, even spelunk a singular path through Virginia. This collection of narratives, all but one of them from his long career at Norfolk’s Virginian-Pilot, reaffirms Virginia as a land rich in story and Swift as one of its most wide-ranging and tireless chroniclers.