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This book really didn't focus on "how roads are changing the world and the way we live today" as the title suggested. Rather it is a travel log describing all manner of things that roads intersect. The book didn't cover the material in the ways I envisioned, but is was NOT a disappointment.
Conover has "been there and done that" along every road he describes. He follows ancient roads and reveals the related history. He travels the roads along the West Bank and describes the day-to-day problems faced by Pelestinians seeking to go about their daily activities. His chapter including roads of Lagos, Nigeria were wonderful. I have been in that sprawling city at least a dozen times and agree with his insights related to that area of the world.
Well written, well read by Dick Hill, and informative. It will reward the listeners time.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
"The origin of existence is movement. Immobility can have no part in it, for if existence were immobile, it would return to its source, which is the Void. That is why the voyaging never stops, in this world or the hereafter."
- Ibn al-'Arabi
Ted Conover is a stable mix of William T. Vollmann and Paul Theroux. If I were to Venn diagram Vollmann, Theroux, and Ted Conover, there would be a ∪ between Vollmann and Theroux for fiction and there would be a ∪ for all three for narrative nonfiction, travel, poverty, and trains (Conover: Rolling Nowhere: Riding the Rails with America's Hoboes; Vollmann: Riding Toward Everywhere; Theroux: The Great Railway BazaarGhost Train to the Eastern Star: On the Tracks of the Great Railway BazaarRiding the Iron Rooster, The Old Patagonian Express: By Train Through the Americas).
In this book, Conover gives us six roads/trails, each exploring different themes he is trying to develop: development vs the environment (The transportation route of mahogany through Peru from Assis in Acre state, through Puerto Maldonado and Cuzco to Lima/Callao; technically he did this the other direction, but the movement of mahogany is from the Brazil border down to Lima); isolation vs progress (Ladakh-Zanskar down the ice road/root route of the frozen Indus river called the chaddar); military occupation (all the security check points of the West Bank are belong to us); transmission of disease (Kenya/Uganda); social transformation (the car and highway in modern China); and the future of the city (Lagos, Nigeria).
It was a fascinating, if not often depressing, look at the trade-offs that come with development, exploration, trade, and travel. Other Conover books on audible to check out Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing and Rolling Nowhere.
13 of 18 people found this review helpful