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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

The Path of Peace: walking the Western Front

phil andrade

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Just found this thread and I must thank Michelle for her kind recommendation of our book. Inevitably, there will be comparisons and, obviously, given his reputation and the fact that he is backed by the Western Front Way association, Sir Anthony is going to receive a lot more attention than we did - so we are very grateful. Incidentally, we rushed our book out, based on our daily blog, so it would be available in time for the Armistice centenary, but we have since greatly enlarged it and republished it (available at all good Amazons, if anyone's interested!).

In Sir Anthony's defence, I think it's important to include some personal details in any account, as we inevitably did. Neither he nor we were writing a history book, or a guidebook. One anonymous critic complained that our book was a "what we did on our holidays" account - and, of course, that was, to some extent, right. The best travel writing (and I am not including our book in that category) tells the reader something about the writer, as well as the actual travelling.

Naturally, many people drew Sir Anthony's book to our attention, and I did enjoy it. We walked the line in the early days of Western Front Way planning so, although we made contact with them, our route had to be worked out by us as we went along, and we were unsupported. So, needless to say, I joke to everyone who mentions it that Sir Anthony was cheating when he stayed in one hotel for several nights and took taxis back and forth (we walked every step of the way and the first motorised transport we took in the whole trip was a taxi at the very end back to Basel), but good for him for doing it at all. It's a long walk however you do it, and for much of it he was alone, so that's pretty impressive in itself. Not surprisingly, of course, we stayed in some of the same hotels, so it was good to know we were on the right track!

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I’ve just ordered the updated version. I look forward to reading it. 

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  • 1 month later...

I've recently finished reading this, and I'm not sure what to make of it. 

I enjoyed quite a lot of it, but I did find some of the personal details not really relevant. I felt that there didn't seem to be a lot of planning before the walk, although I accept that I may be being unfair as it was delayed by Covid and therefore difficult to plan for everything. 

Having said that, I would praise the effort put into both the walk and the reason for it. Could I do it? No, I'm pretty sure that I couldn't, although I would like to see more of some of the areas on the walking tour basis - maybe some time before I'm completely knackered! 


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