Ten years after walking across Central Asia and through Afghanistan, Rory Stewart returns to Britain. He walks a thousand miles, crossing and recrossing the English-Scottish Border. A referendum is coming on whether Scotland will become independent country; he is a Scot living in England, and the Member of Parliament for the only constituency with 'Border' in its name. He paces back and forth between his family house in Scotland and his own home in Cumbria. He discovers that, buried beneath England and Scotland, is another country, now lost, a Middleland with its own history, its own civilisation: a vanished kingdom. Stewart sleeps on mountain ridges and in housing estates, in motels and in farmhouses. Following lines of neolithic standing stones and the wilderness created by farming subsidies; wading through floods and ruined fields, he traces Hadrian's Wall with soldiers who have fought in Afghanistan. He interviews Buddhist and Christian monks, investigates arson attacks and heritage websites, and tries to get to grips with his tartan-clad father. His book becomes a history of the Middleland, or The Marches , what is now the frontier zone between two contemporary nations. Britain, he argues, is an island whose natural boundaries are the sea, a nation split by a colonial empire that drew a line on a map, separating tribes and families. The book is defined by a profound love of landscape, and walking, an unusual erudition, and an instinct for the most eccentric local histories. It draws on contemporary politics, and long years working in rural Asia, and on troubled borders, to illuminate the pattern of forgetting and remembrance that makes a very modern border and a very modern nationalism.
'Engaging, intelligent and ultimately moving...in some ways, Rory Stewart resembles a Robert MacFarlane who has chosen geopolitics over metaphysics...Theresa May would do well to promote him.' Scotland on Sunday
'[A] substantial and very impressive book.' -- Philip Marsden Spectator
'Stewart is the nearest person I have identified in real life to Rudyard Kipling's Kim, the all-seeing, all-knowing man-child of Empire... The heart of the book is about love... He is observant, gently mocking and he writes beautifully.' -- Melanie Reid The Times
Publication date: 13/10/2016
|Publication date:||13th October 2016|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, The Real World, Travel,|
Rory Stewart was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Malaysia. After a brief period in the British Army, he joined the Foreign Office, serving in Indonesia and Montenegro. In 20002 he completed a two-thousand-mile walk from Turkey to Bangladesh. His account of crossing Afghanistan on foot a few months after the US invasion, The Places In Between, drew wide acclaim and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. He was awarded an OBE in 2004 for his work in Iraq, which is recounted in his book Occupational Hazards. He was elected Conservative MP for Penrith and The Border in 2010.More About Rory Stewart