Follow the Money: A Month in the Life of a Ten-Dollar Bill
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Follow the Money: A Month in the Life of a Ten-Dollar Bill

by Steve Boggan
     
 

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What do you do if you want to really understand a country, to understand its people and feel its heartbeat? You can follow the rest of the tourists, or you can take the advice of Watergate reporter Bob Woodward’s source, ‘Deep Throat’, and ‘follow the money.’

Starting out in Lebanon, Kansas – the geographical centre of America

Overview

What do you do if you want to really understand a country, to understand its people and feel its heartbeat? You can follow the rest of the tourists, or you can take the advice of Watergate reporter Bob Woodward’s source, ‘Deep Throat’, and ‘follow the money.’

Starting out in Lebanon, Kansas – the geographical centre of America – journalist Steve Boggan did just that by setting free a ten-dollar-bill and accompanying it on an epic journey for thirty days and thirty nights through six states across 3,000 miles armed only with a sense of humor and a small, and increasingly grubby, set of clothes. As he cuts crops with farmers in Kansas, pursues a repo-woman from Colorado, gets wasted with a blues band in Arkansas and hangs out at a quarterback’s mansion in St Louis, Boggan enters the lives of ordinary people as they receive – and pass on – the bill. What emerges is a chaotic, affectionate and funny portrait of the real modern-day America.

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Jonathan Yardley
It would be easy enough to say that Boggan just got lucky, that his $10 bill was touched by a certain magic that led him to good places and away from bad ones. Perhaps so. But at a moment in our history when so many Americans are troubled by what they see as anger and hostility among their fellow citizens, it is rather nice to be given a bit of evidence that this may not be entirely true.
From the Publisher
‘..ordinary Americans, so-called, bring Mr. Boggan’s book to life  - aided by the author's sharp eye and generous spirit… His account makes for engaging reading.’ - Wall Street Journal

'A wonderful premise for a travelogue and Boggan exploits its potential to the full, asking questions about his own life as he charts the rich variety of America's rural and city inhabitants.' - Daily Mail

'Boggan's random and democratic MO means that he gets to hang out with everyone from fire marshals to rock bands in this enjoyable travelogue with a difference, which might appeal to readers of Bill Bryson or Tony Hawks.' - The Herald

‘A fun, multi-faceted travelogue.’ - Kirkus Reviews

‘(Boggan) watched as the money was exchanged in transaction after transaction, and learned a whole lot about the U.S. economy in the process.’ - Marketplace, American Public Media

‘The journey of Boggan’s ten-dollar bill lasts thirty days, covers three thousand miles and reveals an image of America, one that transforms the ordinary and mundane into something that seems almost transcendent.’ - The Digital Journal.

'I can't remember reading a book where the author is continually making fun of himself yet becomes more and more admirable and likeable as the book goes on. He has created a cast of interesting and entertaining characters that are vivid, memorable, and a pleasure to hang out with. The book is an unexpected delight.’ - Luke Rhinehart/George Cockcroft, The Dice Man

'Boggan has constructed a hugely endearing narrative personality...his raconteurship has you chuckling as the author ill-advisedly microwaves his underwear, delightedly discovers a "drive-thru bottle shop", and generally behaves, in refreshing contrast to the exhausting get-up-and-go of the travel genre, with a lovably shambolic lassitude.' - The Guardian

‘A laugh-out-loud triumph’ - The Sun

‘A wonderful premise for a travelogue and Boggan exploits its potential to the full, asking questions about his own life as he charts the rich variety of America’s rural and city inhabitants.’ - Daily Mail ‘Must Read’
'The strength of Boggan's writing is the clear, clean and non-judgemental prose style that lets the remarkable and disparate lives of those he encounters speak for themselves. Heart-warming, fascinating stuff.' - The Big Issue

‘Charming, often funny and engrossing' - The Australian

‘Thoroughly enjoyable debut, in the vein of Louis Theroux and Jon Ronson, which gives us an intelligent and humorous portrait of an America tourists rarely see’ - The Bookseller

'I absolutely loved this book…a funny, penetrating, warm-hearted journey to the very heart of the one thing that both unites and divides us most profoundly – money.'  - Frank Cottrell Boyce (Author, Millions, 24 Hour Party People, Welcome to Sarajevo and author of the script for the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony)

‘A great way to explore and understand the soul of America in the 21st Century. A terrific read’ - Rosie Boycott (Author and literary commentator)

'Steve Boggan's quest to plant a ten dollar bill into the heart of America...is an astute one.' - We Love This Book

'An interesting book from an exciting new publisher' - Conde Nast Traveller

‘Boggan covers six states and a distance of 3000 miles, relating his experiences with a self-deprecating wit’ - Lonely Planet Magazine"

An engaging, positive portrait of the American Midwest as seen through the eyes of an Englishman, this will particularly appeal to fans of Bill Bryson." — Library Journal

 " ...ordinary Americans, so-called, bring Mr. Boggan's book to life—aided by the author's sharp eye and generous spirit." - Wall Street Journal"

It would be easy enough to say that Boggan just got lucky, that his $10 bill was touched by a certain magic that led him to good places and away from bad ones. Perhaps so. But at a moment in our history when so many Americans are troubled by what they see as anger and hostility among their fellow citizens, it is rather nice to be given a bit of evidence that this may not be entirely true." - The Washington Post"

In 2006, British journalist Boggan wrote an article about following a single 10-pound note for a week, tracking its movements from hand to hand. This highly entertaining book expands on the theme. Making his way to the U.S., Boggan sent a marked $10 bill on its way, vowing to follow its progress for a full month. His journey—or, rather the bill’s journey—took him from his starting point of Lebanon, Kansas (popularly if inaccurately known as the geographical center of the U.S.) to Detroit, Michigan, a distance of more than 3,000 miles. The rules were simple: he had to be present at every transaction, he couldn’t influence how the 10 bucks was spent, and he couldn’t influence where the bill went (there was a tense moment when a guy said he was going to mail the bill to a place 406 miles away). Like Bill Bryson, whose travel books are as much about the people he meets as they are about the places he visits, Boggan writes entertainingly about the characters he encountered along the way—most of whom were, somewhat surprisingly, pretty cool with his unusual request to follow them around until they spent the money—and about his various misadventures, which included racing down the road in hot pursuit of a First Responders' vehicle on the way to an emergency. A nifty book with an unusual premise and plenty of fun." — David Pitt, starred Booklist Review

'A compelling, inspiring and oddly reassuring portrait of modern America. Fantastic debut.' - Time Out 5-Star Review

'Its randomness is its joy' - The Independent

'A picaresque travelogue about chasing an idea through down-home modern America.' - The Times"

Like Bill Bryson, whose travel books are as much about the people he meets as they are about the places he visits, Boggan writes
entertainingly about the characters he encountered...A nifty book with an unusual premise and plenty of fun." - David Pitt, Booklist

Library Journal
London-based journalist Boggan gives readers a delightful account of his 30-day journey through middle America following a ten-dollar bill for 30 days as it passed from hand to hand across the country. He begins in Lebanon, KS, once known as the geographic center of the United States, and winds his way through Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Michigan as the bill is exchanged. A few people he encounters are suspicious of his motives, but most are entertained by his quest and welcome him—often into their homes. Along the way he harvests soybeans, hangs out with a bar band, spends hours in a tree stand with a couple of deer hunters, and learns that you can't dry synthetic-fiber clothing in a microwave. By the end of his journey, Boggan realizes that his presence is affecting the bill's movements, and that he has learned much more about human nature than about economics. VERDICT An engaging, positive portrait of the American Midwest as seen through the eyes of an Englishman, this will particularly appeal to fans of Bill Bryson.—Rachel Owens, Daytona State Coll. Lib., FL
Kirkus Reviews
British journalist Boggan delivers a "Where's George?"–inspired debut examining the varied paths paper money can take and the hands it passes through. Taking a cue from an ill-fated newspaper piece he was assigned by the Guardian, the author decided to follow a $10 bill for 30 days and nights, pushing off in 2010 near Lebanon, Kan. (pop. 218). Unpaid and driven by curiosity alone, the inquisitive author put the ten-spot in the welcoming hands of deer-hunting lodge owner and first-aid responder Rick Chapin, tracking its 3,300-mile journey from the supermarket where the Chapins purchased lunch. Each consumer, in turn, spent the money and told Boggan their story, many still at the mercy of a struggling American economy. After contact with Ernie, a lifelong Lebanon farmer who lamented that crop machines have predominantly replaced human effort, the bill passed to a truck stop, where a traveling single mother and her son braved the roads together. The action sputters some in Hot Springs, Ark., but then revives as the money met a Chicago-based post-recession investment banker fearful of his increasingly embittered, angry older clientele and a Vietnam veteran still nursing painful war wounds. These poignant profiles give the book its heart and personify the reality of a collapsed economy. Boggan's eye-opening journey ends at the expansive home of a former auto maintenance welder in Detroit who remains optimistic about the future of the American automobile industry. A fun, multifaceted travelogue.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781908526212
Publisher:
Aurum Press
Publication date:
04/01/2013
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
767,819
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.50(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
‘Fantastic debut’ - Time Out 5-Star Review

'Its randomness is its joy' - The Independent

'A picaresque travelogue about chasing an idea through down-home modern America.' - The Times

Meet the Author

STEVE BOGGAN was Chief Reporter of the Independent and co-founder of the investigations unit before moving into feature writing, which he now does for the Guardian, The Times and the Evening Standard. He lives in London.

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