A broad picture of roads and trails from many parts of the world and many eras.
Richardson highlights roads, trails, and routes that played important historical roles, from the land bridge Beringia, the route by which the first people may have traveled from Asia to North America, to the Ho Chi Minh Trail (1959-1975), now the Ho Chi Minh Highway in Vietnam (begun in 2000). In addition, this book makes stops along the Roman roads in Britain, the Inca roads in South America, the animal migration route in the Serengeti plains, the Khyber Pass between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Trans-Siberian Railroad, the Spanish pilgrimage route el Camino de Santiago, the Chilkoot Trail through the Alaska Coast Mountains, and Depression-era Route 66. Each chapter opens with a map (readers will wish for more detail), introductory data including name, age, description, “Claim to Fame,” and “Who Uses It Now?,” and an illustrated, one-page, unnecessary fictional story to set the scene and engage readers. The informational parts of each chapter, with their accompanying photos (unfortunately uncaptioned), are ably written. Carefully distinguishing between hypothesis and fact in the Beringia chapter and elsewhere, the author does an excellent job of helping readers understand the current relevance of many of these routes.
A mostly satisfying mix of history and geography for the curious armchair traveler. (bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)