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The Last Great Walk

DIn The Last Great Walk journalist Wayne Curtis uses the framework of Weston's fascinating and surprising story and investigates exactly what we lost when we turned away from foot travel and what we could potentially regain with America's new embrace of pedestrianism From how our brains and legs evolved to accommodate our ancient traveling needs to the way that Amer. An entertaining book covering different aspects of walking anchored by the historic walk mentioned in the title Well researched and at times even laugh out loud funny the book does make you want to get up and take a long walk though that makes it rather harder to keep reading

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In 1909 Edward Payson Weston walked from New York to San Francisco covering around 40 miles a day and greeted by wildly cheering audiences in every city The New York Times called it the first bona fide walk across the American continent and eagerly chronicled a journey in which Weston was beset by fatigue mosuitos vicious headwinds and brutal heat He was 70 years ol. The content about Weston s walk was interesting although I expected of an adventure tale than what it was The content in between reports on Weston s progress was intermittently interesting About the third or fourth time I was reading about how walking is good for our health I started skimming When the author started talking about how cars changed our environment I returned to reading About the third or fourth time the author returned to that particular topic I began skimming again Definitely worth the read It will give you much to think about and you will look at your surroundings a little differently But you have permission to skim when you feel like a dead horse is being beaten Apologies for the gruesome imagery

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Ican cities have been designed to cater to cars and discourage pedestrians Curtis guides readers through an engaging intelligent exploration of how something as simple as the way we get from one place to another continues to shape our health our environment and even our national identityNot walking he argues may be one of the most radical things humans have ever don. I ve always enjoyed a nice leisurely walk and I often walk to do short errands But after reading this record of a walk taken in 1909 from New York City to San Francisco completed in just over 100 days I will never think about walking the same way againEdward Payson Weston left NYC on March 15 1909 to walk to the West Coast He took a mostly northerly route through New York state over to Chicago and across the Great Plains He walked alone except for a car that was supposed to follow him with food and supplies and except for the many crowds and fans that met him along the way He sometimes relied on homeowners to take him in and give him a good meal or to shelter him in storms if he couldn t walk through them This may not sound like much but I can t imagine walking hours and hours every day through rain sleet snow muddy roads roads barely worthy of the name and constant isolation in some parts And yet Weston was part of a still popular but waning movement of pedestrianism As Weston set out the car was becoming a factor in American lifeThe author Wayne Curtis interweaves the story of Weston s walk with information on all manner of related topics the landscape Weston encountered the growing issues around automobiles and how they changed the landscape in ways I had never known I ll never look at a city street with the same eyes again and the rights of individuals in public spaces the importance of movement in locating the self in space among other mental health and physical issuesAfter approximately a hundred years people are beginning to understand what they ve lost to the car culture and making efforts to reclaim it If you live in a walkable community count your lucky stars If you don t read this book and figure out how to make some changesI gave this book a rating of 4 because I would have liked to know about other walkers of the period and how those who couldn t walk coast to coast might have emulated Weston I know of one example but I would have enjoyed hearing


About the Author: Wayne Curtis

The Last Great Walk an account of a remarkable 4000 mile journey taken in 1909 and why it’s relevant today His previous book was a cultural history of a loathsome intoxicant



10 thoughts on “The Last Great Walk

  1. says:

    My first nomination for the best nonfiction book read in 2015I found the story of the 70yo man walking across the US in 1909 fascinating but the commentary on the importance of walking past and present individually and as a species was riveting and thought provokingI'd say but I have to go take a walk And you should just read the book

  2. says:

    This book should be reuired reading for students of land use planning and municipal councillors

  3. says:

    The content about Weston's walk was interesting although I expected of an adventure tale than what it was The content in between reports on Weston's progress was intermittently interesting About the third or fourth time I was reading about how walking is good for our health I started skimming When the author started talking about ho

  4. says:

    Rewarding read with a multifaceted look at how we shaped the 20th Century and how we might shape the 21st Meanwhile I intend to step up my jaywalking

  5. says:

    “Not walking I believe is one of the most radical things we ever decide to do“ xviiiBest thing about this book is that several times it e

  6. says:

    An entertaining book covering different aspects of walking anchored by the historic walk mentioned in the title Well researched and at times ev

  7. says:

    After perusing a friends’ response to his reading of this book I ordered it There was something intriguing about the idea of a Seventy year old man walking from NYC to San Francisco then to learn that this stroll occurred in 1909 that caused the intrigue I felt to bloom into a thirst to learn the “why it mattered today” I was not dis

  8. says:

    I've always enjoyed a nice leisurely walk and I often walk to do short errands But after reading this record of a walk taken in 1909 from New York City to San Francisco completed in just over 100 days I will never think about walking the same way againEdward Payson Weston left NYC on March 15 1909 to walk to the West Coast He took

  9. says:

    This 2014 book gets 4 out of 5 stars It really held my interest I found out about a popular cultural phenomenon of the late 19th century American pedestrianism During the 1870s and 1880s America’s most popular spectator sport wasn’t baseball or football—it was competitive walking Inside sold out arenas competitors walked around dirt tr

  10. says:

    In The Last Great Walk author Wayne Curtis shares the story of Edward Payson Weston otherwise known as ‘Weston the Pedestrian” In 1909 Weston undertook to walk from New York to San Francisco in 100 days The man was 70 years of age on the day he began the long trek across the continent This was a time when automobiles were beginning to make headway into the lives of ordinary Americans Curtis in his telling of Weston

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