I had forgotten how much I liked The Places in Between, Rory Stewart’s account of his walk across Afghanistan just after the fall of the Taliban. A decade later he undertook another walk, through his home country, the borderlands between England and Scotland, for The Marches. The book and the walk (two walks, actually) meander, but Stewart is a fantastic guide: funny, curious, knowledgeable, and—perhaps most importantly—not merely an observer, as he’s become a member of Parliament from the region. Often using his aged and feisty father—a proud career imperialist (and loyal Scottish Briton) who rose to be #2 in the British secret service—as a beloved foil, Stewart expertly weaves the histories of borders and empires—the Romans in Britain, and the British everywhere—and searches, like the old-fashioned Tory he is, for signs of the persistence of history and tradition.
—Tom Nissley, Phinney Books, Seattle, WA