The Old Ways

The Old Ways

A Journey on Foot

Book - 2012
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The author recounts his walking explorations through historical British territories, roads, and sea paths, drawing on themes in natural history, cartography, archaeology, and literature.
Publisher: New York : Viking, c2012
ISBN: 9780670025114
Branch Call Number: 914.2 MAC
Characteristics: xi, 432 p. : ill. ; 24 cm


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martha_w Jun 22, 2016

I'm struggling to figure out quite how I felt about this book. The writing was consistently beautiful, and since I'm about to go on a trip to the UK I thought some of the descriptions of the walks in Britain were fascinating, but at other times I frequently found my attention straying. I have no doubt there is a certain type of reader who would love every word of this book -- for this reader, however, it was a worthwhile read that required a bit more patience that one might wish (or possess).

Dec 22, 2015

I read this with envy for one who has the ability, time & funds to take off on these walks. It satisfied me with the variety, especially the Doggerland & Broomway area so steeped in history; the Icknield Way, Hebrides; the walks in Palestine/Israel I'd never get to. I guess I'd have to check his other books for The Great Glen Way & somewhat disappointed no mention of Loch Nagar - only in my dreams.

Oct 21, 2015

Indeed, as others have commented, there is something poetic about the writing, but in the end....well, I didn't get to the end, as I got bored with the meanderings of the writing itself. Also, the title is a bit misleading, as not all the journeys are on foot. One of the "ways" is on a waterway.

SchroederTribe Aug 20, 2015

I could quite happily populate any social media account with quotes from this book. The beauty of walking, the history of walking, the socio-economic aspects of walking, the health of walking, the literature on walking are all lyrically and beautiful covered in this meditation. There is no other way that we can so literally walk in the paths of our ancestors.

ChristchurchLib Apr 08, 2013

"In this "masterful, poetic travel narrative" (Kirkus Reviews), acclaimed British author Robert Macfarlane recounts his walking explorations via the "old ways," examining ancient footpaths, roads, and sea paths. He draws on a wide variety of intriguing subjects, including literature, natural history, and cartography, to illuminate various landscapes in Great Britain (the chalk downs of south England, the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, etc.) and in other countries (occupied territory in Palestine, the Camino de Santiago in Spain, and sacred regions of the Himalayas). Using rich but readable prose, Macfarlane meditates on people - (he meets a lot of them) and the paths they tread in this 3rd in a loose trilogy (after Mountains of the Mind and The Wild Places), which is a perfect read for wondering wanderers." April 2013 Armchair Travel newsletter

Jan 27, 2013

Excellent addition to the growing library of "the new nature writing" (as Granta titled an issue a few years ago). Macfarlane is an admirer of many other landscape writers, particularly Edward Thomas; like Thomas, his is particularly poetic style of writing, but not so much that the flavour of the narrated experience is diluted. Highly recommended.


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quagga Sep 08, 2013

My legs preserved the ghost sense of stride, the muscle memory of repeated action, and twitched forwards even as I rested. My feet felt oddly dented in their soles, as if the terrain over which I had passed had imprinted its own profile into my foot like a mark knuckled into soft clay. How had Flann O'Brien put it in The Third Policeman? 'When you walk, the continual crackling of your feet on the road makes a certain quantity of road come up into you.'

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