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On Foot: A History of Walking
     

On Foot: A History of Walking

by Joseph Amato
 

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"I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understand the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks, who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering."
— Henry David Thoreau (1817—1862)

" Everything is within walking distance if you have the time."
—Stephen Wright (1955—)

For approximately

Overview

"I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understand the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks, who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering."
— Henry David Thoreau (1817—1862)

" Everything is within walking distance if you have the time."
—Stephen Wright (1955—)

For approximately six million years, humans have walked the earth. This is the story of how, why, and to what effect we put one foot in front of the other.

Walking has been the primary mode of locomotion for humans until very recent times when we began to sit and ride-first on horses and in carriages, then trains and bicycles, and finally cars, trucks, buses, and airplanes-rather than go on foot. The particular way we saunter, clomp, meander, shuffle, plod along, jaunt, tramp, and wander on foot conveys a wealth of information about our identity, condition, and destination.

In this fast-stepping social history, Joseph A. Amato takes us on a journey of walking-from the first human migrations to marching Roman legions and ancient Greeks who considered man a "featherless biped"; from trekking medieval pilgrims to strolling courtiers; from urban pavement pounders to ambling window shoppers to suburban mall walkers.

Concentrating on walking in Europe and North America and with particular focus on how walking differed according to social class, Amato distinguishes how, where, when, who, what, and under which conditions people moved on foot. He identifies crucial transformations in the history of walking, including the adoption of the horse by the mounted warrior; the rise of public display among European nobility; and the building of roads and transportation systems, which led to the inevitable ascent of the wheel over the foot.

Editorial Reviews

Star Tribune
"A rambling pleasure--leisurely placed and full of interesting cul-de-sacs--pleasantly garrulous and filled with the anecdotes of small details aptly observed."
Forecast
"An in-depth examination."
Cleveland Plain Dealer
"A thought-provoking survey across time and space. . . . Pick up On Foot and carry it home. It will renew your appreciation for the pedestrian in your own flesh."
From the Publisher

"A rambling pleasure—leisurely paced and full of interesting cul-de-sacs—pleasantly garrulous and filled with the anecdotes of small details aptly observed.”

-Star Tribune

"This is a fascinating book, extremely knowledgeable and ambitious, thought provoking in the best sense. Simply put: a very imaginative presentation and, someone has to say it, not at all pedestrian."

-Peter Stearns,author of Anxious Parents

"An in-depth examination.”

-Forecast

"An enlighening compelling read...a well-researched, well written piece of work."

-TCM Reviews

"Joseph A. Amato has written a richly detailed and engaging account of walking from ancient times to the present. His book explores the many modes and contexts of human ambulation: marching, strolling, promenading, rambling, sauntering, commuting, to name just a few. Taking full account of the evolution of the city, shifting attitudes toward the countryside, and the role of class and labor in determining the value and meaning of walking, this book helps us to see a basic human activity as a complex cultural and historical phenomenon."

-Roger Gilbert,author of Walks in the World: Representation and Experience in Modern American Poetry

”Extremely readable account . . . invites a global edition."

-Choice

"I suggest you leave your car at home, go for a long walk, and buy it."

-Dr. Mike DeBrule

"On Foot is an expansive and illuminating field trip, complete with rest stops for little-known facts about an everyday activity many of us take for granted."

-Minnesota History

"Provides a valuable background treatise for the enlightenment of students who more often prefer to drive their automobiles than walk for any trip that ranges more than a few blocks!"

-Journal of Social History

"A thought-provoking survey across time and space. . . . Pick up On Foot and carry it home. It will renew your appreciation for the pedestrian in your own flesh."

-Cleveland Plain Dealer

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814705308
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
11/01/2004
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
333
File size:
3 MB

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

-,

-,

"Extremely readable account . . . invites a global edition."

-Choice,

"A thought-provoking survey across time and space. . . . Pick up On Foot and carry it home. It will renew your appreciation for the pedestrian in your own flesh."

-Cleveland Plain Dealer,

"An in-depth examination."

-Forecast

Meet the Author

Joseph A. Amato is the author of fifteen books, including Dust: A History of the Small and Invisible. He is professor emeritus of history and rural and regional studies at Southwest Minnesota State University. He lives in Marshall, MN.

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