The Path of Peace
Blackwell’s Non-Fiction Book of the Month
‘A formidable achievement… a moving enactment of a modern pilgrimage’ Rory Stewart
‘Thoughtful [and] heartfelt’ Observer
‘Profound [and] compelling’ Spectator
‘A noble endeavour’ New Statesman
***A WATERSTONES BEST BOOKS OF 2022 PICK***
Without a permanent home, a wife or a job, and with no clear sense of where his life was going, Anthony Seldon set out on a 35-day pilgrimage from the French-Swiss border to the English Channel.
The route of his 1,000 kilometre journey was inspired by a young British soldier of the First World War, Alexander Douglas Gillespie, who dreamed of creating a ‘Via Sacra’ that the men, women and children of Europe could walk to honour the fallen. Tragically, Gillespie was killed in action, his vision forgotten for a hundred years, until a chance discovery in the archive of one of England’s oldest schools galvanised Anthony into seeing the Via Sacra permanently established.
Tracing the historic route of the Western Front, he traversed some of Europe’s most beautiful and evocative scenery, from the Vosges, Argonne and Champagne to the haunting trenches of Arras, the Somme and Ypres. Along the way, he wrestled heat exhaustion, dog bites and blisters as well as a deeper search for inner peace and renewed purpose. Touching on grief, loss and the legacy of war, The Path of Peace is the extraordinary story of Anthony’s epic walk, an unforgettable act of remembrance and a triumphant rediscovery of what matters most in life.
‘The Western Front Way, an idea that waited 100 years for its moment, is the simplest and fittest memorial yet to the agony of the Great War. Anthony Seldon’s account of how he walked it, and what it means to all of us, will be an inspiration to younger generations.’ Sebastian Faulks
‘A deeply informed meditation on the First World War, an exploration of walking’s healing power, a formidable physical achievement… and above all a moving enactment of a modern pilgrimage.’ Rory Stewart
‘A journey of self-discovery and a pilgrimage of peace… A remarkable book by a remarkable man.’ Michael Morpurgo
‘An incredible journey that will move and inspire.’ Bear Grylls
A thoughtful, heartfelt journey on foot along the western front of the great war * Tim Adams, Observer * Profound [and] compelling... there are many layers to this book, many cultural references, insights, thoughts and intriguing speculation. * Spectator * A noble endeavour * New Statesman * There is much to admire in [The Path of Peace]... Seldon has a historian's eye for spotting and recounting good stories. * Observer * A haunting, intense, enjoyable and memorable book. * Tristan Gooley, author of How to Read a Tree * A deeply informed meditation on the First World War, an exploration of walking's healing power, a formidable physical achievement... and above all a moving enactment of a modern pilgrimage. * Rory Stewart * In this compelling and well-balanced book, Seldon reaches some valuable and poignant insights, both about the ways we commemorate and remember the War and about his own life. * Times Literary Supplement * A journey of self-discovery and a pilgrimage of peace... A remarkable book by a remarkable man. * Michael Morpurgo * The Western Front Way, an idea that waited 100 years for its moment, is the simplest and fittest memorial yet to the agony of the Great War. Anthony Seldon's account of how he walked it, and what it means to all of us, will be an inspiration to younger generations. * Sebastian Faulks * An incredible journey that will move and inspire. * Bear Grylls * Timely, poignant and passionate. Seldon skilfully weaves the personal with the historical * Katya Adler * A dazzling journey... The Path of Peace is a beautiful and generous gift. * Olivette Otele * A beautifully-written heartfelt book. * Cherie Lunghi * A timely, eloquent and convincing reminder that to forget the carnage of the past is to open the door to it happening again. If anyone needs persuading that a 1,000 kilometre Western Front Way would be both civilising and educational this is the book they should read * George Alagiah * A compelling mix of travelogue and history, nature-writing and reflection * Church Times * A mesmerising and deeply impressive book unlike any other on the First World War. * David Yelland * [A] great read. * The Great Outdoors * [I]n a book market packed with every type of First World War tome, this one truly deserves to be read. * Military History Matters *
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