What’s it all about?:
A wittily told journey through time as the author walks a series of famous historical journeys, uncovering British heritage and discovering the contemporary landscape.
What did I think?:
From the blurb, this book looked right up my street. I’ve recently discovered a thirst for history, and one man re-creating the journeys of famous historical figures looked like it was going to be a page turner. The author decides to walk from Norwich to St Albans as Boudica’s trail of destruction satisfies her hunger for revenge, then turns to King Harold’s tramp to Hastings where he famously lost his life in battle after being hit through the eye by a rogue arrow. Next we learn about Olaf the dwarf on the Isle of Man, the last true Welsh king, the escape of Mary Queen of Scots from Loch Leven and a cross-dressing Bonnie Prince Charlie whom also on the run. Lastly and very poignantly we learn about the 1849 walk of starving peasants in Ireland during the famine, a walk of which I was previously unaware of and felt very moved by.
Connelly’s tales are quite witty and his anecdotes quite charming, I enjoyed picking up tabs of information that I hadn’t realised, for example did you know that Mary Queen of Scots was a football fan? At other times, it seemed like he had quite limited knowledge of the history that he was recounting – although this could be because we have a complete lack of historical evidence for the particular figure or incident. There did seem to be an awful lot of complaining about the weather which ideally he should have been prepared for, but hey isn’t that what we British do best?! These slight negatives aside, I did feel as if I learned a few things and would like to delve into them a little deeper at a later date.
Would I recommend it?:
Star rating (out of 5):