This father-and-son trek through the history and landscape of the United Kingdom is “a sensitive exploration of what borders mean and don’t mean” (The Wall Street Journal).
In The Places in Between, Rory Stewart walked some of the most dangerous borderlands in the world. Now he travels with his eighty-nine-year-old father—a comical, wily, courageous, and infuriating former British intelligence officer—along the border they call home.
On Stewart’s four-hundred-mile walk across a magnificent natural landscape, he sleeps on mountain ridges and in housing projects, in hostels and farmhouses. With every fresh encounter—from an Afghanistan veteran based on Hadrian’s Wall to a shepherd who still counts his flock in sixth-century words—Stewart uncovers more about the forgotten peoples and languages of a vanished country, now crushed between England and Scotland. Stewart and his father are drawn into unsettling reflections on landscape, their parallel careers in the bygone British Empire and Iraq, and the past, present, and uncertain future of the United Kingdom. And as the end approaches, the elder Stewart’s stubborn charm transforms this chronicle of nations into a fierce, exuberant encounter between a father and a son.
“[Stewart] anchors his lively mix of history, travelogue, and reportage on local communities in a vibrant portrait of his father, who was both a tartan-wearing Scotsman and a thoroughly British soldier and diplomat.”—Publishers Weekly
“Stewart brings a humane empathy to his encounters with people and landscape.”—The Washington Post
“An unforgettable tale.” —National Geographic