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The Water Road: A Narrowboat Odyssey Through England. Paperback – 4 May 2011


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The Water Road: A Narrowboat Odyssey Through England. + Too Narrow To Swing a Cat: Going Nowhere in Particular on the English Waterways + Narrowboat Dreams: A Journey North by England's Waterways
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Portico; New edition edition (4 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861056559
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861056559
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 14 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 199,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Paul Gogarty is a contributor to the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times, Guardian and Daily Express. He is travel editor at Cosmopolitan magazine, and from 1992 to 2001 was chief travel writer at the Daily and Sunday Telegraph and for three years a regular presenter on BBC 1's Holiday programme.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Blencathra on 26 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an account of a four month journey that Paul Gogarty undertook during the summer of 2001 (during the foot and mouth outbreak) around the English canal system: a figure-of-eight loop from London to Birmingham, Wigan, across to Leeds, back down the Trent to Oxford, then via the Thames back to London.

It's a highly evocative account. Gogarty not only captures the atmosphere of 'the Cut' in descriptive terms, but manages to meet a fascinating cross-section of people living on or around the waterways, surprisingly many still involved in or remembering more commercial times. This is no elegy - the canal system has been going through a more leisure orientated renaissance for some years now - but what Gogarty does manage to do is relate what and those who he finds to a much broader perspective, that of England as a whole.

It's not all sweetness and light, as he comes across many of the vices of modern day England: he's stoned at one point in Wigan by a gang of youths, whilst a constant thread that runs through his book is the issue of racism and xenophobia that permeates parts of English culture, but that is what raises the book above the ordinary. The book journeys beyond a simple account of a journey to one where the concepts of England and Englishness themselves come under closer examination. Gogarty himself is not immune to prejudice, with a jarring note struck late on in the book when taking a look around Eton school, but that is another reason why the book scores so well - it comes over as one man's honest and thoughtful view on what he encounters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. R. Cheesman on 13 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
I'm a long time enthusiast for the canals but have to get my fix in a rather voyeuristic fashion through reading about other people's adventures in books or blogs.
What makes this one so good is that Paul Gogarty is a travel writer and therefore possesses two important qualities, observation and a brilliant command of the English language.
A simple narration of a four month journey would be the equivalent of reading Bradshaw's guide and so I have no problem in Paul introducing us to a wealth of places and people on the canal. Indeed the prose is so good you do start to get that sense of community that exists on our waterways and the very real 'characters' that inhabit them. Some other books I've read have used this technique to fill out the book but here you do feel engaged in the whole environs and hinterland of the canals. The prose is really very good and it makes this a hard book to put down
I really wish, having said all that that, I could have given it four and a half stars because the book does have one serious failing. For those of us who are not intimately conversant with the geography of the canal system it would have been nice to have had much better and informative maps. As such they consist of single lines with a few places picked out and often no reference to places described in the book. There are no junctions marked with other canals and no other places so that the reader can get a feel for where in the UK they are. Finally are all only half a page in size which leaves little room for the detail required.
So, in summing up, this is a brilliant tale of an epic journey that is a delight to read but is let down by very poor cartography.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter Brooke on 10 Mar. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read this book many times in paperback and have updated to the kindle version.
I have spent many happy holidays on the canals and reading this book brings back such great memories. Even if you haven't ventured on the canals this book is a very enjoyable account of one man traveling round England on the inland waterways.
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Format: Paperback
This is probably the best canal book i have read. I felt like I was on the trip myself. A book i will read again. I can only go on the areas i am familiar with, but if the others areas are described as good as bedworth (beduff) you can really get a feel for this journey. Well done to Paul and thanks
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
not your run of the mill canal trip. historical fact as well as sound boating information could not wait to get back to it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A most enjoyable book, it combines history, geography and all the fun of a canal holiday.
Highly recommended.
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By Mrs. Susan L. Arrand on 20 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this for my husband and he thinks it's great and really funny/witty in parts. Would recommend to others..
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting report of the voyage with a narrowboat. But not a "MUST" from my point of view.
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