The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot (MP3 CD)
If the best books are those that make you itch for something new—or, in
this case, something as ancient as walking—Robert Macfarlane’s poetic
travel memoir is certainly one of the best books I’ve read in a long
time. Tracing his ramblings across moors and seas, up mountains, and
along meandering paths, Macfarlane describes in lush, precise prose a
natural (and human) world that reveals itself leisurely, step by step.
Full of remarkable scenes and a memorable cast of characters, The Old Ways brings to mind recent memoirs like Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and
classic nature writing a la Peter Matthiessen. I recommend it with only
one caveat: read it with your hiking boots on; it’ll make you want to
get up and go.
From the acclaimed author of The Wild Places comes an engrossing 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 Macfarlane'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 kinds--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. Macfarlane discovers that paths offer not just a means of traversing space but of feeling, knowing, and thinking.