Pilgrimpace's Blog

pub walks in underhill country
March 7, 2011, 4:09 pm
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This book is excellent.  I am not sure precisely what it adds to pilgrimage – except the important matters of huge enjoyment, deeper insight into humanity, and the entertainment of judging which information about some of my favourite walks (for it is set in the Midlands) is true and which not.

Here is part of Nat Segnit’s foreword to Graham Underhill’s walking guide:

No work of non-fiction is complete these days without a personal journey of some sort – and ‘Pub Walks in Underhill Country’ is at times personal to the point of indiscretion.  But it’s as a ‘psychogeographer’, a cartographer of human consciousness in the exalted tradition of Roger Deakin, Richard Mabey and Robert Macfarlane – the three R’s, as Graham liked to call them – that Underhill most deserves to be plucked from obscurity.  Always searching, unconstrained by the conventions of more ‘sophisticated’ nature writing, Underhill guides us towards a conclusion that Kant, and Coleridge, and Wainwright had drawn in their turn: that walking lies at the heart of human experience.  When our earliest ancestors first stood and walked, their hands became free, demanding of the budding human brain an expansion commensurate to the body’s new capacity for manipulating its surroundings.  Four million years on, men have walked on the moon, dreaming with each weightless step of further journeys, wilder achievements on the long path of human ingenuity that includes, in its small way, the work of Graham Underhill – of which ‘Pub Walks in Underhill Country’ is both summation and crowning achievement.

2 Comments so far
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Yes, I’ve read a couple of reviews of this. Looks like another book I’ll have to order from the library … if the library is still there …

Comment by solitary walker

Indeed. My local library has just reopened after repairs to its roof. Will it still be there in a year’s time?

Comment by pilgrimpace

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