Synopses & Reviews
Drawing together many histories of anatomical evolution and city design, of treadmills and labyrinths, of walking clubs and sexual mores Rebecca Solnit creates a fascinating portrait of the range of possibilities presented by walking. Arguing that the history of walking includes walking for pleasure as well as for political, aesthetic, and social meaning, Solnit focuses on the walkers whose everyday and extreme acts have shaped our culture, from philosophers to poets to mountaineers. She profiles some of the most significant walkers in history and fiction from Wordsworth to Gary Snyder, from Jane Austen's Elizabeth Bennet to Andre Breton's Nadja finding a profound relationship between walking and thinking and walking and culture. Solnit argues for the necessity of preserving the time and space in which to walk in our ever more car-dependent and accelerated world.
"This subtle and suggestive study, though, is something else. Wanderlust is, as Ms. Solnit admits, an 'amateur history,' but amateur in the best sense. The trail mix is always ready at hand, providing unexpected nuggets (Hobbes, we are told, had a walking stick with a built-in inkwell) and piquant sensations (the desert, Ms. Solnit writes, is 'a place where loneliness has a luxurious flavor, like the blues')." Edward Rothstein, The New York Times
"Meandering through human bipedalism, urban policy, garden design, nature treks, pilgrimages, and the joys of urban roving, Solnit's beautifully written chronicle visits several continents but ends with an inspired promenade down a new pedestrian paradise: the Vegas strip." Harlan, Entertainment Weekly
"Solnit presents an absolutely fascinating look at how the act of walking itself has influenced our history, our science, our literature, and the very way that we see ourselves as human beings. Drawing on a multitude of diverse disciplines, Solnit illustrates that walking has led to some of the best, and worst, incidents in all of history....In this discussion of walking's role in literature, politics, education, philosophy, feminism, and religion, Solnit walks to great heights with a historical masterwork." Booklist
"Delightful...Solnit covers all kinds of ground in her inspiring book on walking." The Seattle Times
"Solnit is an elegant essayist...as a guide, she knows the path well; she is tireless and sure-footed." The New York Times
About the Author
Rebecca Solnit is the author of numerous books, including Hope in the Dark, River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West, Wanderlust: A History of Walking, and As Eve Said to the Serpent: On Landscape, Gender, and Art, which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism. In 2003, she received the prestigious Lannan Literary Award.