11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A song of the road,
This review is from: On Roads: A Hidden History (Hardcover)
What a delightful book! If at first at first sight you are tempted to think that it just serves to feed the inner nerd you are mightily mistaken. Take the trivial example of road-numbering. Even a brief discussion may tempt some into a detailed perusal of the nearest wall, but that would entail missing out on the crucial revelation that we can blame our road numbers on none other than Napoleon. If that is not interesting then I don't know what is! This instance illustrates one of the aspects which I feel have been missed by other reviewers - the extraordinary range of reference which Moran brings to his subject. While there is no bibliography, just look at the works mentioned in the notes. Virtually all of these are apposite and not there for the purpose of showing off and show that the book is effectively a social and cultural history of roads.
A second feature of the book which seems to have gone unnoticed is the felicity and wit of the author's style which make it a surprisingly entertaining read. He occasionally soars to the lyrical level which driving certain stretches of road can elevate one. He is also capable of coining some very exact phrases.
Having driven along so many roads I thought I knew a great deal about them. Now I know a great deal more. I won't bore anyone with examples - entertain yourselves!