Freeze compares life in North Carolina in 1953 to what it is like in 2003. For example, in 1953, most of the population lived in the country or in small towns of less than 1,000 residents. Many areas lacked electrical service. The electronic world of today was just a dream. Nor were there huge malls or stores on the bypasses. The greatest social change has been the end to racial segregation, and politically, the Republicans are now the dominant party. One thing remains constant, however; it's still 543 miles from Manteo to Murphy.