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The Old Ways: A Journey on Footby Robert Macfarlane
Synopses & Reviews
From the best-selling author of The Places in Between, “a flat-out masterpiece” (New York Times Book Review), an exploration of the Marches—the borderland between England and Scotland—and the people, history, and conflicts that have shaped it
In The Places in Between Rory Stewart walked through the most dangerous borderlands in the world. Now he walks along the border he calls home—where political turmoil and vivid lives have played out for centuries across a magnificent natural landscape—to tell the story of the Marches.
In his thousand-mile journey, Stewart sleeps on mountain ridges and in housing estates, in hostels and in farmhouses. Following lines of ancient neolithic standing stones, wading through floods and ruined fields, he walks Hadrian’s Wall with soldiers who have fought in Afghanistan, and visits the Buddhist monks who outnumber Christian monks in the Scottish countryside today. He melds the stories of the people he meets with the region’s political and economic history, tracing the creation of Scotland from ancient tribes to the independence referendum. And he discovers another country buried in history, a vanished Middleland: the lost kingdom of Cumbria.
With every step, Stewart reveals the force of myths and traditions and the endurance of ties that are woven into the fabric of the land itself. A meditation on deep history, the pull of national identity, and home, The Marches is a transporting work from a powerful and original writer.
"This scintillating travelogue is a celebration of well-worn footpaths and ancient sea routes. Naturalist MacFarlane (The Wild Places) traipses across Britain via Stone-Age trails, sand flats that briefly emerge between daily tides, and sea lanes to the Hebridean Isles. He ventures abroad into the bullet-strewn hills of the West Bank and follows a pilgrimage route in Spain. Along the way, the author meets artists, poets, farmers, sea-bird hunters, and adventurers, each with stories to tell and idiosyncratic attitudes toward the terrain ahead. MacFarlane writes with a discerning eye and an immediacy that immerses us in his surroundings — whether a delicately misty shore, a seemingly chaotic field of rocks that reveals hidden patterns, or a holy Himalayan mountain that makes him ' up, neck cricked and mouth bashed open at the beauty of it all.' MacFarlane strikes a fine balance between lyrical nature writing and engrossing scholarship that makes him the ideal walking companion. (Oct. 15)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Places in Between, an exploration of the landscape of his home on the borderland between England and Scotland - known as the Marches — and the history, people, and conflicts that shape it
From the acclaimed author of The Wild Places, an exploration of walking and thinking
In this exquisitely written book, Robert Macfarlane sets off from his Cambridge, England, home to follow the ancient tracks, holloways, drove roads, and sea paths that crisscross both the British landscape and its waters and territories beyond. The result is an immersive, enthralling exploration of the ghosts and voices that haunt old paths, of the stories our tracks keep and tell, and of pilgrimage and ritual.
Told in Macfarlaneandrsquo;s distinctive voice, The Old Ways folds together natural history, cartography, geology, archaeology and literature. His walks take him from the chalk downs of England to the bird islands of the Scottish northwest, from Palestine to the sacred landscapes of Spain and the Himalayas. Along the way he crosses paths with walkers of many kindsandmdash;wanderers, pilgrims, guides, and artists. Above all this is a book about walking as a journey inward and the subtle ways we are shaped by the landscapes through which we move.and#160; Macfarlane discovers that paths offer not just a means of traversing space, but of feeling, knowing, and thinking.
From the father of English nature writing: a superb selection of essays about rural England in the 1800s, with an introduction by the celebrated writer Richard Mabey
Richard Jefferies was the most important and imaginative observers of the natural world in the nineteenth century. Trekking across the English countryside, he recorded his responses to everything from the texture of an owl's feather and 'noises in the air' to the grinding hardship of rural labor.
This fantastic selection of his essays and articles shows a writer who is brimming with intense feeling, acutely aware of the land and those who work on it, and often ambivalent about the countryside. Who does it belong to? Is it a place, an experience, or a way of life? In these passionate and idiosyncratic writings, almost all our current ideas and concerns about rural life can be found.
Celebrated nature writer Richard Mabey's introduction to his selection of Jefferies' work discusses the author's life, his views on the paradoxes of rural life, and his place in the tradition of nature writers, and helps us see Jefferies in a whole new way.
About the Author
Geoff Nicholson is the author of twenty books, including Sex Collectors, Hunters and Gatherers, The Food Chain, and Bleeding London, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize. He divides his time between Los Angeles and London
Table of Contents
I. The Pace of Thoughts
1. Tracing a Headland: An Introduction
3. The Mind at Three Miles an Hour
3. Rising and Falling: The Theorists of Bipedalism
4. The Uphill Road to Grace: Some Pilgrimages
5. Labyrinths and Cadillacs: Walking into the Realm of the Symbolic
II. From the Garden to the Wild
6. The Path Out of the Garden
7. The Legs of William Wordsworth
8. A Thousand Miles of Conventional Sentiment: The Literature of Walking
9. Mount Obscurity and Mount Arrival
10. Of Walking Clubs and Land Wars
III. Lives of the Streets
11. The Solitary Stroller and the City
12. Paris, or Botanizing on the Asphalt
13. Citizens of the Streets: Parties, Processions, and Revolutions
14. Walking After Midnight: Women, Sex, and Public Space
IV. Past the End of the Road
15. Aerobic Sisyphus and the Suburbanized Psyche
16. The Shape of a Walk
17. Las Vegas, or the Longest Distance Between Two Points
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