The Marches: A Borderland Journey between England and Scotland (Hardcover)

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From the best-selling author of The Places in Between, “a flat-out masterpiece” (New York Times Book Review), an exploration of the Marches—the borderland between England and Scotland—and the people, history, and conflicts that have shaped it

In The Places in Between Rory Stewart walked through the most dangerous borderlandsin the world. Now he walks along the border he calls home—where political turmoil and vivid lives have played out for centuries across a magnificent natural landscape—to tell the story of the Marches.

In his thousand-mile journey, Stewart sleeps on mountain ridges and housing estates, in hostels and farmhouses. Following the lines of Neolithic standing stones, wading through floods and ruined fields, he walks Hadrian’s Wall with soldiers who have fought in Afghanistan and visits the Buddhist monks who outnumber Christian monks in the Scottish countryside today. He melds the stories of the people he meets with the region’s political and economic history, tracing the creation of Scotland from ancient tribes to the independence referendum. And he discovers another country buried in history, a vanished Middleland: the lost kingdom of Cumbria.

With every step, Stewart reveals the force of myths and traditions and the endurance of ties that are woven into the fabric of the land itself. A meditation on deep history, the pull of national identity, and home, The Marches is a transporting work from a powerful and original writer.

About the Author

RORY STEWART is the best-selling author of The Places in Between and The Prince of the Marshes. A former director of the Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy and Ryan Professor of Human Rights at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire for services in Iraq. He is the Conservative member of Parliament for Penrith and The Border, a constituency in Northern Cumbria, where he lives with his wife.

Praise For…

“Stewart proves to be a captivating tour guide… He brings archaic languages and traditions vividly alive, wrestles with nationalism and nationhood and, in a poignant closing section, traces his father's war years and last days… Beautiful, evocative and wise, The Marches highlights new truths about old countries and the unbreakable bond between a father and son.”—Malcolm Forbes, MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE
“The miracle of The Marches is not so much the treks Stewart describes, pulling in all possible relevant history, as the monument that emerges to his beloved father.”NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

“Stewart demonstrates a deep historical understanding of the land and describes the flora and fauna that he encounters with the precision of a botanist… Stewart is a careful and thoughtful observer…”—CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
"[A] modern day Lawrence of Arabia…a sensitive exploration of what borders mean and don't mean... the book is held together by Mr. Stewart's writing, with his short chapters moving skillfully from history to personal encounter." Andrew Lownie, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
“Stewart reveals the force of myths and traditions and the endurance of ties that are woven into the fabric of the land itself. A meditation on deep history, the pull of national identity, and home, The Marches will be regarded as one of the best books of 2016.”—WAMC-FM, “the Roundtable”

“Captivating… Stewart writes movingly and honestly about his father, who was 50 when Rory was born but possessed a remarkable vigor and a keen interest in his son that readers will feel throughout the narrative. It’s a fitting end to this powerful exploration of personal and national lineages and landscapes.”—BOOKPAGE
“As a writer, Stewart has a fine sense of the nature of the physical spaces he traverses, as well as the human stories (past and present) that play out in these landscapes.” —SIGNATURE
“An unforgettable tale.” NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

"[Stewart] paints vivid portraits... [he] 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. This is a subtle, clear-eyed, ardent case for the United Kingdom's future, one that recognizes cross-border divisions but deeply values ties that bind." —PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY

“Fascinating…Stewart provides wonderful insights as he visits Roman fortifications, medieval castles, and Hadrian’s Wall. This is an informative, thoughtful, and timely mix of history and travelogue.” BOOKLIST
“There are few authors whose books are automatic purchases, whatever the subject . . . [Stewart’s] greatest talent is in getting people to speak to him and actually listening to what they say, a skill on full display in his previous books about Afghanistan and Iraq. . . . Throughout, Stewart makes it a joy to learn every tree, flower, and butterfly, to explore where Roman forts stood, and to understand the ancient histories of the region. Another winner from a consistently engaging author.” KIRKUS REVIEWS (starred review)
"Stewart bubbles with geopolitical knowledge... [His] walk across the Middleland brings Cumbria brilliantly alive...  this is travel writing at its best… Perhaps more than anything else, more than the exploration of a landscape, or an attempt to define the prickly concept of empire, or to ask what it means to be Scottish, The Marches is a portrait of a man. Of an energetic, loving father; of a gentle man, yet feisty; of a man who loved to dance and to laugh and to sing, and whose son was the apple of his eye.”—THE GUARDIAN(UK)

Product Details
ISBN: 9780544108882
ISBN-10: 0544108884
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: November 22nd, 2016
Pages: 368
Language: English