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Robert Moor

Forfatter af On Trails: An Exploration

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Some interesting personal experiences and perspective, but I couldn't get through the last 100 pages.
mmparker | 15 andre anmeldelser | Oct 24, 2023 |
This was well-written in a sort of rambling narrative, but failed to keep me interested in the face of more compelling books in my TBR pile.
JudyGibson | 15 andre anmeldelser | Jan 26, 2023 |
Working outwards from his experience of walking the entire Appalachian Trail, Moor looks into the surprisingly complex question “What is a trail?” — he investigates how and why animals, from fossil sea-bed creatures and ants to elephants and bison, change the world by making trails, where human trails used by different cultures come from and how they evolve, takes a sidestep to look at human interaction with animals as hunter, pastoralist, or scientific observer, and then takes a wide sweep through the background to modern ideas about hiking and wilderness. Along the way we get plenty of chance to reflect on the many metaphorical ways we talk and think about trails too.

I found the scientific part of the discussion the most interesting: Moor seems to be an arts graduate with an unusual gift for asking scientists the right questions an continuing to do so until he actually understands what they are telling him, so his accounts of the trail-making behaviour of various animals and of how we found about it are lively and convincing, despite a few journalistic tics like his insistence on telling us about the dress and facial features of his interviewees.

The section on human behaviour was quite interesting too, although it’s very North American in its focus. There’s a lot about the tracks used by Native Americans, most of which were probably originally adapted from animal trails — bison are very good at finding the most energy-efficient route, apparently — and many of which still exist as part of the modern highway network. I was also interested by the way he picks out the odd convergence between urban liberals and crotchety gun-toting libertarians in the conservation movement, even if, as he points out, America has never been the “trackless wilderness” so many people have a nostalgic affection for.

Moor comes to the interesting conclusion that trails, with their mixture of serendipitous exploration and continuous refinement, are a repository of collective wisdom in the same sort of way that books or the internet are, and that trail-building behaviour is one of the great evolutionary steps that animals have taken, almost on a par with the invention of language.

The last audiobook I listened to irritated me because the reader didn’t distinguish clearly enough between the author’s voice and passages of quotation; this one went the other way, giving everyone quoted the stage-school accent appropriate to his or her presumed origins. If you want to hear Nietzsche and “Goatie” speaking English like camp commandants in a seventies war film, or a distinguished Belgian ethologist doing a Poirot impersonation, you’re in the right place…
… (mere)
thorold | 15 andre anmeldelser | May 12, 2022 |
The Cold Mountain trail goes on and on: the long gorge choked with scree and boulders, the wide creek, the misty blurred grass. The moss is slippery, though there's been no rain. The pine sings though there's no wind. Who can leap the world's ties And sit with me among the white clouds? From Cold Mountain Poems by Han-shan

On Trails discusses everything from the oldest fossil trials of primitive organisms to insects trails to hiking on long trials. rHow did humans use the trails of animals to create their own trials, and later roads. How do different cultures route their trails in different way. Moor looked at the trials the Cherokees made and modern recreational trials that went through the same places. The modern trials were routed to get the best scenic views while the Cherokee's trials were much more functional. Robert Moor hiked the Appalachian Trail before he began his career as a journalist. Research for this book took the author from Newfoundland to Morocco and all over North America. It seemed a bit long at times but I am glad I read it to the end.… (mere)
MMc009 | 15 andre anmeldelser | Jan 30, 2022 |



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