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William Least Heat-Moon
William Least Heat-Moon 04B.jpg
William Least Heat-Moon (2008)
Born William Lewis Trogdon
(1939-08-27) August 27, 1939 (age 74)
Kansas City, Missouri
Occupation Travel writer, historian
Language English
Ethnicity English, Irish and Osage ancestry
Education Bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. degrees in English
Bachelor's degree in photojournalism
Alma mater University of Missouri
Genres Deep map travel literature
Notable work(s) Blue Highways

William Least Heat-Moon, also named William Lewis Trogdon (born August 27, 1939), is an American travel writer and historian of English, Irish, and Osage ancestry. He is the author of various bestselling books of topographical U.S. travel writing.


Least Heat-Moon has ancestry of both Native American and Euro-American lineages. His ancestry is reflected in his names: the Trogdon family name comes from his Euro-American lineage, and the Heat-Moon name reflects his Native American lineage. William's father is Heat-Moon, his elder brother is Little Heat-Moon, and he is thus Least Heat-Moon.[1] Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Least Heat-Moon grew up in Missouri and attended the University of Missouri, where he earned bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. degrees in English as well as a bachelor's degree in photojournalism. He was a member of the Beta-Theta chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon, and he also served as a professor of English at the university.

He currently resides in Rocheport, Missouri, a small town in Boone County, Missouri, along the Missouri River about 10 miles west of Columbia.


Blue Highways, which spent 42 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in 1982–83, is a chronicle of a three-month-long road trip that Least Heat-Moon took throughout the United States in 1978 after he had lost his teaching job and been separated from his first wife. He tells how he traveled 13,000 miles, as much as possible on secondary roads (which he points out were often drawn on maps in blue, especially in the old-style Rand McNally road atlas), and tried to avoid cities. Living out of his van, he visited small towns such as Nameless, Tennessee; Hachita, New Mexico; and Bagley, Minnesota to find places in America untouched by fast food chains and interstate highways. The book records memorable encounters in roadside cafés as well as his search for something greater than himself.

PrairyErth is a deep map account of the history and people of Chase County, Kansas.

River-Horse is Least Heat-Moon's account of a four-month coast-to-coast boat trip across the U.S. in which he traveled almost exclusively on the nation's waterways from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with many of the nearly 5,000 miles following journeys taken by early explorers like Henry Hudson and Lewis and Clark.

Columbus in the Americas (2002) is a brief history of Christopher Columbus's journeys.

Roads to Quoz (2008) is another "road book," but it differs from his previous such works in the sense that it is "not one long road trip, but a series of shorter ones"[2] taken over the years between books. Robert Sullivan of the New York Times Book Review commented that Least Heat-Moon celebrates "serendipity and joyous disorder."[2]

Here, There, Elsewhere (2013) draws together Least Heat-Moon's greatest short-form travel writing.

An Osage Journey to Europe 1827-1830 (2013) contains the accounts of six Osage people who traveled to Europe in 1827, accompanied by three Americans; it was translated into English by Least Heat-Moon and James K. Wallace.


  • Blue Highways: A Journey Into America. Fawcett, 1982. ISBN 0-449-21109-6
  • The Red Couch: A Portrait of America. With Kevin Clarke and Horst Wackerbarth. Olympic Marketing Corp, 1984. ISBN 0-912383-05-4
  • "A Glass of Handmade." The Atlantic, November 1987.
  • PrairyErth (A Deep Map). Houghton Mifflin, 1991. ISBN 0-395-48602-5
  • River Horse: The Logbook of a Boat Across America. Houghton Mifflin, 1999. ISBN 0-395-63626-4
  • Columbus in the Americas (Turning Points in History). Wiley, 2002. ISBN 0-471-21189-3
  • Roads to Quoz: An American Mosey. Little, Brown and Company, October 2008. ISBN 978-0-316-11025-9
  • Here, There, Elsewhere: Stories from the Road. Little, Brown and Company, January 8, 2013. ISBN 0316110248
  • An Osage Journey to Europe 1827-1830: Three French Accounts. University of Oklahoma Press, October 2013. ISBN 0806144033


  1. ^ Blue Highways, p. 4.
  2. ^ a b Sullivan, Robert (December 14, 2008), "On the Road Again, Again", New York Times Book Review: 8 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Least_Heat-Moon — Please support Wikipedia.
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385 videos foundNext > 

Writing Blue Highways: William Least Heat-Moon - May 28, 2014

In 1982-83, William Least Heat-Moon's Blue Highways, a chronicle of traveling America's back roads, spent 42 weeks on The New York Times best-seller list. Thirty years after his 14000-mile,...

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Author William Least Heat-Moon on the transition from traveling, country-wide for his book "Blue Highways" to staying put in one area to write "PrairyErth" H...

BLUE HIGHWAYS REVISITED, The Book and The Exhibition

Blue Highways Revisited Edgar I. Ailor III Foreword by William Least Heat-Moon Photography by Edgar I. Ailor III and Edgar I. Ailor IV In 1978, William Least...

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William Least Heat-Moon, of English, Irish and Osage ancestry, is one of America's masters of travel writing. His three best selling books explore the "blue ...

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William Least Heat-Moon talks about creating his 1982 book, "Blue Highways," a depiction of the United States and its people as seen from the country's backr...

Film extra from "Return to PrairyErth" : William Least Heat-Moon on American Travel

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385 videos foundNext > 

21 news items

Sun, 20 Jul 2014 05:00:00 -0700

“Blue Highways,” by William Least Heat-Moon. I'm sure I'm not alone in adoring this book, a chronicle of one man's journey through the forgotten backroads and small towns of America. This was one of those reads where, at the end of every paragraph, I ...

Hazlitt Magazine

Hazlitt Magazine
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 08:30:00 -0700

In the process of whittling it down, he undergoes a personal transformation so thorough that he adopts the name of an Osage ancestor, and pitches his memoir as William Least Heat-Moon. Four years after first taking the drive, man's book is published as ...
The River Journal
Tue, 15 Jul 2014 10:03:45 -0700

I then rinsed my mind out with a few Pat McManus hilarities, Neil Young's “Waging Heavy Peace,” a few of my old friend B.J. Daniels' Montana-style murder mysteries, then two from Sherman Alexie that led me on to William Least Heat-Moon's “Blue Highways ...
The Boone Country Connection
Wed, 02 Jul 2014 14:22:30 -0700

Nixon, Senators McCaskill and Blunt, author William Least Heat-Moon, conservationist Dr. Peter Raven, civic leader Dr. William Danforth, environmentalist Adolphus Busch IV, preservationist Jim Dierberg and many more. 7/15–“Introduction to Genealogical ...
Columbia Daily Tribune
Sat, 05 Jul 2014 22:07:38 -0700

On the same Sunday, I wrote both of the creative give-and-take practiced by poet Walter Bargen and artist Mike Sleadd and the continued import of iconic local writer William Least Heat-Moon. While both articles were pleasurable to write, there wasn't ...
Webster Kirkwood Times
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 23:22:30 -0700

I wish them well on their freedom journey, circling, circling, circling – discovering their moments in time. And sometime before I am too old, perhaps I will wander, too, like John Steinbeck in "Travels With Charley" or William Least Heat Moon in "Blue ...
Valley Sun
Wed, 02 Jul 2014 13:37:30 -0700

I draw my students close and quote William Least Heat-Moon. “The Missouri River is alive. It is a river that speaks: I am a grandfather spirit; I have a life. With its treacherous current, snags, and sandbars the river says to the wayward traveler ...

България Сега

България Сега
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 01:33:40 -0700

През 1978-ма година, никому непознатият американски писател от индиански произход Уйлям Лийст Хийт Муун – (William Least Heat-Moon от племето Осайджи), тръгва сам на 3 месечно пътешествие из Америка. За да избяга от безизходицата ...

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