'A fascinating, informative, revelatory book' William Boyd, Guardian
Parks are such a familiar part of everyday life, you might be forgiven for thinking they have always been there. In fact, public parks are an invention. From their medieval inception as private hunting grounds through to their modern incarnation as public spaces of rest and relaxation, parks have been fought over by land-grabbing monarchs, reforming Victorian industrialists, hippies, punks, and somewhere along the way, the common folk trying to savour their single day of rest.
In A Walk in the Park, Travis Elborough excavates the history of parks in all their colour and complexity. Loving, funny and impassioned, this is a timely celebration of a small wonder that – in an age of swingeing cuts – we should not take for granted.
This is a fascinating, informative, revelatory book … The vast array of knowledge that Elborough disperses in this book will make you look at parks differently … Parks seem an immutable, strangely paradisiacal element of our fraught and complicated urban lives, but the fact that we actually have them, as Elborough demonstrates in this wonderful book is something to be marvelled at.
Travis Elborough is becoming a latter-day Alan Bennett. Let loose in an array of reference libraries, he summons many a curious fact…from the shelves, which makes for a rich narrative… Alluring detail fills every page.
Amiable new history of the public park… Turns up lots of interesting, joyful stuff… A Walk in the Park is an enjoyable stroll.
His writing combines subtle drollery with a fantastical, Monty Python-ish strain… We can count this captivating book among the boons they [parks] have granted us.
Charming blend of the patriotic, popular and whimsical… Beautifully written.