The Marches

The Marches

Summary


Rory Stewart explores his love for the UK in this account of history, memory and landscape as he traverses the the borderlands between England and Scotland.

‘This beautifully written book is a haunting reflection of identity and our relationships with the people and places we love’ Daily Mail

His father Brian taught Rory Stewart how to walk, and walked with him on journeys from Iran to Malaysia. Now they have chosen to do their final walk together along ‘the Marches’ - the frontier that divides their two countries, Scotland and England.

On their six-hundred-mile, thirty-day journey - with Rory on foot, and his father ‘ambushing’ him by car – the pair relive Scottish dances, reflect on Burmese honey-bears, and on the loss of human presence in the British landscape.
Travelling across mountain ridges and through housing estates they uncover a forgotten country crushed between England and Scotland: the Middleland. They discover unsettling modern lives, lodged in an ancient place, as their odyssey develops into a history of the British nationhood, a chronicle of contemporary Britain and an exuberant encounter between a father and a son.

And as the journey deepens, and the end approaches, Brian and Rory fight to match, step by step, modern voices, nationalisms and contemporary settlements to the natural beauty of the Marches, and a fierce absorption in tradition in their own unconventional lives.

‘Suggests an open-mindedness in Stewart, a tolerance and flexibility that could make him an exceptional politician while it also continues to define him as a writer
New York Review of Books

‘Travel writing at its best’ Guardian

Reviews

  • I thought at first Rory's book was about the French political party, but blow me it is all about our native heath, plus his dad, and is one of the most original books we have had in 33 years of the prize
    Hunter Davies, Lakeland Book of the Year, 2017

About the author

Rory Stewart

Rory Stewart was a Member of Parliament for almost a decade, during which time he served as Secretary of State for International Development, Prisons Minister, Minister for Africa, and Minister for the Environment, and ran against Boris Johnson for the leadership of the Conservative party. Earlier in his career he served briefly as an infantry officer and then as a diplomat in Indonesia, the Balkans and Iraq. He founded and ran the Turquoise Mountain foundation in Afghanistan and was the Director of the Carr Centre and the Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Stewart has written four books: The Places in Between; Occupational Hazards; Can Intervention Work? and The Marches. He presents The Rest is Politics podcast with Alastair Campbell which is consistently top of Apple podcasts in the UK. He tweets at @RoryStewartUK.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more