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on 29 July 2014
I am only half way through this absolutely delightful gospel of Harry's pilgrimage. I use the word gospel in the sense that it is incarnational and 'good news', and it has passion. It is also humbling and soul inspiring. Very few books are cover to cover reads but this is, each chapter is well written, humorous, and draws you beautifully one after the other, almost like the footsteps of this pilgrim. The book has a spiritual depth to it, deeply moving and insightful on the soul. Harry describes so many sacred spaces from churches to flea ridden mattresses with the devout eye of a pilgrim. The reader needs to beware it will stir up the inner self, not necessarily to put on your own walking boots but to understand what pilgrims endured and brought joy. Harry Bucknall does this so very well. I hope his iPod can last a while longer for another journey on-wards. Once a pilgrim always a pilgrim. Thank you.

Addendum - I have now finished the book and I am delighted that it did not disappoint from start to finish, don't hesitate to buy this and settle back for a yummy read. Roland Olliff
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on 24 July 2015
Fabulous book. Beautifully written yet light hearted and written a man with a real passion for geography, culture and history and who clearly just likes people. It was thoroughly entertaining, interesting and educational.
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on 24 August 2016
The author is a likeable character but he tends to focus on military facts and crusader history for me. Sadly I never learned anything about Harry which I believe defeats the purpose of writing about a personal pilgrimage. Interesting and amusingly written but I felt I was being kept at arms length the whole time which diminished my enjoyment of the book
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on 27 January 2017
An interesting and informative book about the Via Francigena.
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on 19 July 2014
An excellent book written by a man I have had the honour to have served under in the British Army, I laughed at times so hard I nearly cried, a thought inspiring book which makes you want to grab your walking boots........ Well done
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on 20 September 2016
Having walked the VF myself (77 days walked 18 August to 6 December 2010) this was for me more than a coffee table book.

As an entertainment, it is good. For cultural and historical background it is good. For a bewildering variety of interesting characters, that he finds everywhere, it is remarkable. For flow and structure, the book is competent.

For me, it didn't ring true. There is sparse description of the landscape that might have impressed him, and would have etched itself on his memory over the 1300 miles. No mention of physical discomfort of any kind (I read not quite to the end). Early on, a 26-mile day is mentioned. Most of the book comprises 1. interesting characters 2. historical background. Several reviewers seem to mistake his cultural appreciation for "spiritual" writing, which I did not find. Nor does he claim, really. Pleasures like food, smoking and drinking receive ample description.

During my reading of the early parts of the book, I thought absence of heartfelt genuine personal observation was because he only decided to write a book later, after he had forgotten the characteristic details. But it continued. So he concentrated on personalities, more than broader physical manifest aspects of the pilgrimage. And I thought he had put words into their mouths, as they had somewhat similar style of speaking. Where does fiction begin? And the historical background (good as it is) read as if embroidered into the book after the event.

There is an expression "hike your own hike", meaning that other individuals experience a thru-hike differently. But this account misses so much that was characteristic, as it fails to convey to me the firsthand vividness of walking the VF.
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on 23 July 2014
Well done Harry. Got my copy at the book's launch in the Officer's Mess at the Guards Barracks (Wellington Barracks) in London. Excellant story telling of the author's journey across Europe to Rome telling us a little of the history of the places and associated people from the places he passed through during his journey from St. Paul's in London to St. Peter's in The Vatican (Rome). Now looking forward to see if he goes back to complete the journey from Rome to Jerusalem?
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on 27 July 2014
I am enthrallled by Harry's second book and I am happy ploughing through it. He writes in a manner that allows the reader to become absurd in the tale and it's a wonderful balance of information about the places, people he meets and his mood. I reallly don't "do God" but find myself wrapped up in the whole undertaking, feeling jealous of the experience and obvious joy that the walk provides. A great read.
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on 13 August 2014
This is the second book I have enjoyed by this author and he has matured and developed as a writer so much since his Greek Odyssey. It is funny and touching and wonderfully informative. One shares his aching feet, his wonderment at the glory of the buildings he describes so eloquently and ultimately the joy and triumph of his arrival in Rome.
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on 18 September 2014
Heard the interview on Radio 2 and bought the book on the back of that. Haven't finished it yet, but am enjoying it so far....
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