New York Times Bestseller
Winner of the National Outdoor Book Award
Winner of the William Saroyan Prize
Winner of the Pacific Northwest Book Award
Finalist for the British Columbia Book Prize
In 2009, while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Robert Moor began to wonder about the paths that lie beneath our feet: How do they form? Why do some improve over time while others devolve? What makes us follow or strike off on our own? Over the course of the next seven years, Moor traveled the globe, exploring trails of all kinds, from the miniscule to the massive. He learned the tricks of master trail-builders, hunted down long-lost Cherokee trails, and traced the origins of our road networks and the Internet.
This book is the result of those wild perambulations. Throughout, Moor reveals how this single topic—the oft-overlooked trail—sheds new light on a wealth of age-old questions: How does order emerge out of chaos? How did animals first crawl forth from the seas and spread across continents? How has humanity’s relationship with nature and technology shaped world around us? And, ultimately, how does each of us pick a path through life?
Praise for On Trails
The best outdoors book of the year.
You might think of Robert Moor as the Roger Angell of trail-walking. Just as Angell’s reports on specific baseball games segue effortlessly into reflections on the venerable sport itself, so Moor looks up from whatever trail he may be on to see the big picture. Which is often very big, indeed.
Part natural history, part scientific inquiry, but most of all a deeply thoughtful human meditation on how we walk through life, Moor’s book is enchanting.
[Moor is] a philosopher on foot, recording his journey through miles of wilderness and through a mind sorting out the meaning of travel itself. … The only constant in On Trails is the promise of surprise.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
A wanderer’s dream, even from an armchair.
In the hallowed tradition of Robert Macfarlane, Moor’s beautiful travelogue is a meditation on trails: as cultural space, as history, as intimate terrain. This is just the ticket for your big summer adventure.
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
An ingeniously conceived collection.
Little flowers of information bloom on the graceful canes of Moor's prose. He’s erudite, witty, and relentlessly curious.
GARDEN & GUN
What a profoundly talented writer Moor is. He brings a keen essayist's eye to themes both personal and empiric; his prose is lush and lively and his analysis adroit — all making On Trails a true treat to read.
Robert Moor lives in British Columbia. A graduate of Brown University and the Arthur L. Carter School of Journalism at NYU, he has written for The New Yorker, New York Magazine, The New York Times, GQ, Harper’s, Granta, Outside, and n+1, among other publications. He wrote, reported, and narrated the podcast Joe Vs. Carole. On Trails is his first book. He is currently at work on a new book, entitled In Trees.
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