[Petroski] has a clear eye, a mellifluous prose style and a knack for spicing deep research with personal anecdotes ... While Petroski sounds Cassandra-like alarms, he also offers informative pleasures. He gives a terrific account of a cross-country road trip young Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower made with the military in 1919.
Petroski excels at revealing the origins of everyday, utilitarian things ... But The Road Taken is more than a straightforward history of innovation in road design. It argues forcefully that the United States ought to invest considerably more in its public works.
It would be great fun to drive or stroll with Mr. Petroski and pick his brain about the infrastructure one sees. He seems to know everything possible on the subject and adores it all. But this book, a labor of love, can sometimes be laborious for the reader. The Road Taken is replete with so much minutiae about everything connected to infrastructure that the general reader might become a bit bemused at times.