On Trails: An Exploration

In 2009, Robert Moor hiked the entirety of the Appalachian Trail (commonly called "the AT" by hiking enthusiasts), starting in Georgia and ending Maine. While walking those 2,200 miles, he started to wonder about the nature of the AT: who created it, why and why any footpath at all exists. That last question proves pivotal in shaping Moor's experience after his hike, sending his curious mind on a journey to discover the nature of trails and their origins. His research culminated in On Trails, which offers a "panoramic view of how pathways act as an essential guiding force on this planet."

Moor's survey starts with fossils and moves through time and the animal kingdom to explore the tracks of insects and mammals; the pathways of early humans and those blazed in more recent centuries; the origins of the AT, including several recollections of Moor's hikes there; and the more modern, technological trails humans are forging for travel and information, such as highways and the Internet. Along the way, he moves seamlessly between personal reflection and fascinating trivia, detailed history and philosophical musing, etymological accounts and geographical recollections. These many threads combine to make On Trails an example of narrative nonfiction at its finest. Those with a passion for walking, hiking or exploring will be naturally drawn to Moor's subject, but this is so much more than a subject-specific story; it is a book that poses big questions about humanity's place in the world (literally and figuratively) and how we've come to be here--and it's fascinating to its very end. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm

Powered by: Xtenit