This wonderful book, beautifully written, has been an inspiration to many with an interest in canals. The author, Tom Rolt, captured the imagination of the public when it was first published in 1944 and without this book and its influence, it may be that much more of our canal system, which was facing dereliction at that time, would have been lost forever. Tom takes us on a four hundred mile canal trip and brings to us a whole way of life of the commercial boaters that was about to die. It is beautifully written and now, over 60 years after first publication, has attained the status of an historic classic. Tom was a brave pioneer in choosing to start his married life on the canals with his young bride, Angela, at the outbreak of World War 2. Read the book and tell me if it does not inspire your interest in our canal legacy. First editions now fetch around £100, so treat yourself to a bargain! Tom, who died in 1974, aged 64, had strong views about how modern life was damaging our heritage, and some of his opinions are raised in this book. Nevertheless, it was that concern which was in a large part his inspiration to make his journey and a life on the canals. Without that we would not have been rewarded with this masterpiece, which amazingly was his first published work.