American Ramble: A Walk of Memory and Renewal

Mariner: Houghton Harcourt. Apr. 2023. 368p. ISBN 9780358701491. $32.50. MEMOIR
Former national reporter and Wall Street Journal editor King presents an account of his 26-day walk—yes, walk—from his home in Washington, DC, to the Ramble, a wooded landscape in New York’s Central Park. In the wake of his own battle with cancer, the COVID shutdown, environmental anxiety, and the country’s painful civil unrest, the author savors his ability to experience awe at the beauty of nature. The book shows he is profoundly grateful for the people he encountered—both pre-planned and serendipitously—along the way. George Hamilton’s pen and ink watercolors at the beginning of each chapter are wonderfully in sync with the simple pleasures this book conveys, although this was no simple journey. Old maps and diaries inform the author’s route, and his steps are replete with rich historical details, much of it not well known but worthy of attention. It’s important to note that the author does not shy away from describing the less attractive parts of the landscape and some of the ungenerous people he met.
VERDICT A remarkable addition for all libraries.
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