After purchasing seven books about Route 66, I can make some solid recommendations for what I’ve found to be most useful. The books below are the ones I would recommend to PHOTOGRAPHERS, not necessarily the general public. That is assuming a photographer wants to know what they should expect to SEE and how to get there without too much energy expended reading about the details. Here are the books I recommend:
1) Images of 66 by David Wickline features a very visual look at Route 66. The photos aren’t fine art works or anything, but they are enough to really give you a sense for what you should see when driving different sections of Route 66. The book lacks detailed maps and turn-by-turn directions for how to find the areas shown in the photographs… and that’s why you’ll need the next two resources. This is the book I check out to plan which areas I think would be most valuable photographically and which areas I might be able to skip, or enjoy for other reasons. This book is only available from establishments along Route 66 or on the author’s web site.
2) The best turn by turn directions for following what’s left of Route 66 can be found in EZ 66 Guide For Travelers by Jerry McClanahan. Each page shows a map of a small section of Route 66, unusually covering the details of a drive between two towns. He will tell you about every turn you’ll need to make, so you don’t get lost, but there are few visuals (which is why you need the first book I mentioned). This is the book that I keep next to me when I’m driving and refer to often. I consider this to be absolutely essential to anyone who is serious about driving Route 66.
3) If you want to get a "big picture" of what to expect in each state along Route 66, then consider Here It Is-Route 66-The Map Series, which is a collection of eight fold out maps, one for each state that Route 66 passes through. It’s made by the same guy as the book above and provides less detail and more of a big picture of your route. This isn’t in any way essential, but I still found it to be useful. This might be useful when doing pre-planning, or when you’re about to pass into a new state and want to see how close you’ll be staying to a major interstate and determine where you might want to stay the night each day.
If you’re someone who really wants to read all the details and brush up on the history of Route 66, then I’d suggest the excellent Route 66-The Mother Road by Michael Wallis. It’s a very in-depth book with many interviews, historic information and photographs, but would be my last choice for keeping next to the drivers seat when trying to figure out where you are and which turns to take. This might be a good book to read well before or after your trip down Route 66 so you can absorb the history of the road, so you can appreciate it fully.