Solnit tackles a mildly interesting subject with thoughtful grace. Her (intentionally) peripatetic collection of essays ranges from the thoughts of famous walkers like Wordsworth, Nietzsche, and Rousseau, to discussions of the Sierra Club and walking societies, streetwalking prostitutes, protest marches and fundraising feats, and the ravages of a car-dominated urban and rural landscape. (The chapter on Las Vegas is among the best ... but where's a reference to Ray Bradbury's essential story, "The Pedestrian"?) Interweaved are some of her own walking and hiking experiences. One of the book's virtues is that it draws one's attention to other little-known writers and volumes of interest, from Walter Benjamin to Peace Pilgrim, Robyn Davidson's _Tracks_, and Alan Booth's _Roads to Sata_. The book is beautifully written (and fairly clean; I noted only two typos -- "at lest" and "petition-gathers"), but the topic is perhaps a bit rarified to hold one's interest consistently. Rate it a 9 for quality, but knock it down for relative lack of compellingness.
This report prepared by David Loftus