A sampler of the eternal joys and well-known benefits of walking, with the accent on fun and a tip of the hat to fitness. Quoting liberally from Thoreau at Walden, Virginia Woolf in London, and his own reflections on Manhattan's Georgian Revival architecture or upper Potomac scenes, Gale makes walking seem the companionable, civilized thing to do. Without exploring the how-to's, he also introduces us to bird-watching, backpacking, race-walking, and map-and-compass orienteering--making up for the lack of specific instruction by the glowing and literate testimonials from veterans in the field. Gale hits his stride recounting some of their improbable-sounding exploits (Edward P. Weston crossing the U.S. three times on foot, Minta Beach singing the praises of vegetarianism and temperance from N.Y. to Frisco; four-time Olympic race-walker Ron Laird confounding the experts by training only every four years). On walking's specific benefits to health, Gale is perfunctory at best, and readers who want to get ready before they hit the road will do better with Kuntzleman's The Complete Book of Walking (p. 175). A passable book that's brought to life--when it is--by the people and places met along the way.