Geoff Nicholson walks the walk (and the talk is great too),
This review is from: The Lost Art Of Walking: The History, Science, Philosophy, Literature, Theory And Practice Of Pedestrianism (Paperback)
One of my favourite ever books is Charles Sprawson's The Haunts of the Black Masseur. It's a book about swimming - the whys, hows and wheres and whens, swimming as a pastime, as a sport, as a lifestyle choice. I recommend it highly. I was glad to find that Geoff Nicholson has come up with a work of equal quality that focuses on walking. You'll find crazy adventurer walkers like Harry Bensley, who took on a bet that he could walk around the world fulfilling all kinds of weird conditions, including that he find a wife without showing her his face. Disputes go on to this day as to whether he managed any of the conditions. GN uncovers many dishonest walkers, such as Chairman Mao, who didn't do much walking on his so-called Long March but bragged it into a myth. He does the hows, whys, wheres and whens very thoroughly, but doesn't make it into a history book.
GN enlists famous wanderer Iain Sinclair to appear in his pages - Sinclair can be said to have made a living out of walking - but thankfully he is reticent about theorising about and systemising even his psychogeographic legwork. GN doesn't appear to have too much time for psychogeography as a `discipline', and also sees off `back to nature' afficionados with certainty. Though GN has systemised his walks at times - up and down Oxford Street, for example, at different times of the same day - the book's mainly about `ordinary' walking, what you see when you walk, and the people you might run into, what goes through your mind when engaged in an activity that is free, in general, and leaves you the leisure to think.