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Mapping the Roads
on 14 October 2013
As a kindred, map addicted spirit, I love Mike Parker's analogy that roads are to countries what arteries are to the human body: "they channel the lifeblood of a nation, moving people and goods around, shaping the development of our towns and cities and providing the framework on which all else is hung." Accompanied by an excellent selection of illustrations (including loads of brilliantly reproduced maps that you can get lost in for hours), Mapping the Roads charts the development of Britain's road systems and examines how the variety, availability and desirability (or otherwise) of road-based means of transport has influenced the growth of the nation. There's a lot of historical, political and geographical detail involved in the book but Parker writes with mix of offbeat, humorous observation and hard fact that makes it a pleasure to read. The history of the development of the road system really does reflect and echo the changing face of Britain over the centuries and as such is a truly interesting and informative subject. As Parker notes in his introduction, Mapping the Roads is a story "full of intrigue and invention, ambition and hope" and is an excellent way to while away the hours when the weather is too bad to actually be out, map in hand, trekking through the countryside.