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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 24 September 2012
Congratulations to Robert Macfarlane on his long list nomination for the prestigious Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2012! 'The Old Ways' is a worthy inclusion, extoled by the most notable of his peers; this book is indeed one of the best I have read in this field.
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on 19 August 2014
Published in 2012, ‘The Old Ways’ is a poetic pilgrimage to the pleasure of walking in which the author follows the ancient tracks, drove-roads, sea paths and Holloways through the wild landscape. Macfarlane brings to life his accounts of his journeys on foot with his distinct and rich powers of observation and description. Like his previous ‘The Wild Places’, he captures the essence of place and the people he meets along the way, invoking the old ghosts of the haunted hills and byways, reflecting on such timeless and celebrated authors and artists as Nan Shepherd (‘The Living Mountain’), Edward Thomas (‘Beautiful Wales’ and ‘The Icknield Way’) and the painter Eric Ravilious. The book is more than just a travel book; it is an evocation of the pathways which begin in the imagination and transcend into the wonder of nature all around us, mapping our own internal footfalls and giving us a sense of belonging. This book may change peoples’ perception of walking forever and Macfarlane’s endless passion is a delight. An instant classic!
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on 22 August 2015
Master piece of descriptive writing
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on 16 July 2012
Despite the interesting factual information, I was deeply disappointed by this book. Naively, I expected it to be a direct communication of primary experience, but found it to be a combination of intellectualized emotional response and poeticized technical glossary; in other hands this may have worked, but not Robert Macfarlane's.
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on 30 September 2014
This is a wonderful intelligent read for anyone interested in walking and nature. Well written with a sensitive understanding of landscape and it's historic connection. The book also has a spiritual dimension and I enjoyed the links to other books and writing such as "The Snow Leopard", another travel travel book exploring inner and outer landscapes and the pathways between. Also includes a great glossary - which I will come back to for reference.
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on 17 December 2015
Over-praised.
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on 4 September 2012
I thought this was just about walking in Britain, and felt a yearning to go to Scotland, if it were not for the midges; but then Macfarlane kept jetting overseas too. I felt annoyed by the fact that he seemed to be able to jet off to wherever whenever and irritated by his interesting, arty friends. And his lyrical language was tiresome with adjective piled on adjective. But I shall buy his other books, so he must have worked some magic somewhere in my soul.
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on 19 August 2015
Can a whole book get into pseuds corner in private eye? Wanted to give up after 5 pages made it to 50! Is it a bit like falling of a bicycle?
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on 22 January 2013
I loved the sound of this book, and I really want to read it myself. So I have requested that my Dad lend it to me once he's finished reading it, he was really happy to have got it!
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on 26 July 2013
Bought because recommended at Waterstones, which usually serves quite well as point of reference. Cannot find any merit therein - very convoluted language... loathsome. I love walking, rich vocabulary and poetic prose, but the author establishes no dialogue or connection with the reader. This book has no beauty/soul, it reads like a thesaurus.
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