The Routes of Man by Ted Conover
How Roads Are Changing the World and the Way We Live Today

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Synopsis

From the Pulitzer Prize finalist and National Book Critics Circle Award–winning author of Newjack, an absorbing book about roads and their power to change the world.

Roads bind our world—metaphorically and literally—transforming landscapes and the lives of the people who inhabit them. Roads have unparalleled power to impact communities, unite worlds and sunder them, and reveal the hopes and fears of those who travel them.

With his marvelous eye for detail and his contagious enthusiasm, Ted Conover explores six of these key byways worldwide. In Peru, he traces the journey of a load of rare mahogany over the Andes to its origin, an untracked part of the Amazon basin soon to be traversed by a new east-west route across South America. In East Africa, he visits truckers whose travels have been linked to the worldwide spread of AIDS. In the West Bank, he monitors highway checkpoints with Israeli soldiers and then passes through them with Palestinians, witnessing the injustices and danger borne by both sides. He shuffles down a frozen riverbed with teenagers escaping their Himalayan valley to see how a new road will affect the now-isolated Indian region of Ladakh. From the passenger seat of a new Hyundai piling up the miles, he describes the exuberant upsurge in car culture as highways proliferate across China. And from inside an ambulance, he offers an apocalyptic but precise vision of Lagos, Nigeria, where congestion and chaos on freeways signal the rise of the global megacity.

A spirited, urgent book that reveals the costs and benefits of being connected—how, from ancient Rome to the present, roads have played a crucial role in human life, advancing civilization even as they set it back.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Ted Conover

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Ted Conover is the author of several books including Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing (winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize) and Rolling Nowhere: Riding the Rails with America's Hoboes. His writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and National Geographic. Recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, he is Distinguished Writer-in-Residence in the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. He lives in New York City.
 
Published February 4, 2010 by Vintage. 352 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Travel, Action & Adventure, Professional & Technical, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Routes of Man

The New York Times

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These first-person travelogues exhibit Ted Conover’s remarkable gift for companionship and impious eye for the absurd.

Feb 23 2010 | Read Full Review of The Routes of Man: How Roads ...

The New York Times

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Ted Conover’s globe-spanning book about roads is best appreciated as a set of separate adventure stories.

Feb 18 2010 | Read Full Review of The Routes of Man: How Roads ...

The New York Times

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Ted Conover’s globe-spanning travelogues can be fascinating in themselves, and his meditations on highways are thoughtful, temperate and generous.

Feb 21 2010 | Read Full Review of The Routes of Man: How Roads ...

Oregon Live

Conover has thought deeply about the multiple meanings of roads built starting thousands of years ago (including the Appian Way and 18 other roads leading out of ancient Rome) until yesterday, then has placed himself in peril to travel dangerous roads of today -- searching for anecdotes, searchin...

Feb 27 2010 | Read Full Review of The Routes of Man: How Roads ...

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

Yes, this chapter too takes place mostly on the road but the overall effect is disjointed—the lines between the new roads and the new China made out less clearly.

Feb 15 2010 | Read Full Review of The Routes of Man: How Roads ...

The Pacific Northwest Inlander

The romantic effect that roads can have on a person is not a new topic for writers.

May 04 2011 | Read Full Review of The Routes of Man: How Roads ...

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