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Wanderlust: A History of Walking Paperback – June 1, 2001
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Rebecca Solnit, a thoughtful writer and spirited walker, takes her readers on a leisurely journey through the prehistory, history, and natural history of bipedal motion. Walking, she observes, affords its practitioners an immediate reward--the ability to observe the world at a relaxed gait, one that allows us to take in sights, sounds, and smells that we might otherwise pass by. It provides a vehicle for much-needed solitude and private thought. For the health-minded, walking affords a low-impact and usually pleasant way of shedding a few pounds and stretching a few muscles. It is an essential part of the human adventure--and one that has, until now, been too little documented.
Written in a time when landscapes and cities alike are designed to accommodate automobiles and not pedestrians, Solnit's extraordinary book is an enticement to lace up shoes and set out on an aimless, meditative stroll of one's own. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
But, it's really an extended essay.
For Solnit walking is a quintessentially political activity. And the politics play out at different levels. First, walking is a bulwark against the erosion of the mind by the incessant contemporary rethoric of efficiency and functionality. The walker exposes herself to the accidental, the unexpected, the random and unscreened, and by doing so rebels against the speed and alienation endemic in our postindustrial world. Second, walking is also a reclamation of a physical and public space that is increasingly suburbanised and privatised. Solnit discusses how the early 20th century city was an arena for aesthetic experimentation and political agitation. Walkers and flaneurs, starting with De Quincey in London and Baudelaire in Paris, experimented with an urban underground culture suffused with eroticism and desire. Protest marchers all over the world and throughout the ages have relied on the democratic functions of the street to make their voices heard. Today, the scope for these kinds of trespasses are increasingly rare due to encroaching private property rights and a soulless, panoptic urban architecture.Read more ›
At times I was enthused at what I read (on how Las Vegas is becoming more of a walker's world). At times I was encumbered with laborious literary chronicling of walkers and walking (the writings of Rousseau and Wordsworth). At times I was ecstatic with a simple relationship (the mind at three miles per hour). At times I was educated (the role of walking in the Paris revolutions). And at times I was given a new perspective (how women have dealt with the male's use of walking to control them).
While not quite knowing what to expect when I first saw this book, I thought it would be a great read because a history of something so common as walking could be so interesting. And this book is that. The author looks at the relationship between walking and thinking, between walking and culture, between walking and history, between walking and nature. And she delves into the interplay between walking and how the body uses it to jar the imagination and creativity to enable the walker to see the world around her in a different way.
The book drags at parts because I don't have a particular interest in that subject, just like at times a walk will become tedious. But, overall, this book is much like a walk: a discovery by accident.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This excellent work is one of the best books, in fact, one of the best collections of thought, that I have ever read or encountered. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Eastmanite
Solint is a true original, a most poetic and learned explorer of diverse realities. Her walk through walking, so far as I have read it, made me think and understand an activity I... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Shalom Freedman
Thought provoking. An amazing assortment of historic tidbits and tales. Well worth the read.Published 3 months ago by Lee Anne Bateman
I've always been a walker, whenever I travel I'll walk from sunrise to sunset, so this book grabbed my attention immediately. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
I was given this book as a gift because I am a walker...Rebecca Solnit thinks a lot more about the endeavor than I do... Read morePublished 7 months ago by sharon miller
Loved this so much. Felt like I was reading some wonderful sacred text, beautifully written.Published 10 months ago by Naomi Walker
This is one of the best books on the relations between the body, space, and art I have read. The prose is beautiful, and the connections she draws between histories and geographies... Read morePublished 12 months ago by specialkdw