Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

THE LAND BEYOND: A Thousand Miles on Foot through the Heart of the Middle East

  • Written by  Chris Fitch
  • Published in Books
THE LAND BEYOND: A Thousand Miles on Foot through the Heart of the Middle East
08 Dec
2017
by Leon McCarron • IB Tauris • £17.99 (hardback)

With a thousand-mile, half-year journey being a not-insignificant distance to walk, perhaps the most remarkable thing about this book is that such an intense and immersive experience has been slimmed down to a tome of this size. McCarron’s trek takes him from Jerusalem, north through the West Bank towards the Sea of Galilee, then south through Jordan via Amman, Petra and Aqaba, before entering Egypt and marching all the way to the iconic Mount Sinai. Thankfully, it’s the richest and most insightful details which have been preserved.

Understandably, there is a heavy emphasis on factual information, with historical storytelling and cultural context reigning supreme. The reality that he is actually walking the region is sometimes an afterthought, albeit a rich and detailed one. McCarron frequently utilises an experienced, mature, non-judgemental exterior as the vehicle by which to carry us through a remarkably diverse Middle East, and into the lives of the many engaging and fascinating characters he and his companions encounter along the way; from curious Palestinians to aubergine-throwing teenagers.

His experiences with various Bedouin feel particularly appropriate, paralleling his temporary nomadic existence with some of the world’s most famously nomadic people. ‘In my head I was building up a map of the journey, but one that was not based on landmarks,’ he writes. ‘Instead, I had a representation of the walk through faces, conversations and acts of kindness. To walk is to meet people on their level, face-to-face and shoulder to shoulder, and it serves more powerfully than anything else that I have found to highlight a shared humanity among all.’

It is extremely impressive how McCarron managed to get his head around the many competing factions that find this part of the world so sacred, to the extent that he is able to describe the different ways they’ve all left their mark on this landscape. To keep a balance between paying respect to each party while simultaneously keeping each at arms-length is a very hard game to play, but one he achieves with aplomb.

Click here to purchase The Land Beyond: A Thousand Miles on Foot through the Heart of the Middle East by Leon McCarron on Amazon

Subscribe to Geographical!

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Sign up for our weekly newsletter today and get a FREE eBook collection!

geo line break v3

University of Winchester

geo line break v3

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Derby

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

DOSSIERS

Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • Natural Capital: Putting a price on nature
    Natural capital is a way to quantify the value of the world that nature provides for us – the air, soils, water, even recreational activity. Advocat...
    The human game – tackling football’s ‘slave trade’
    Few would argue with football’s position as the world’s number one sport. But as Mark Rowe discovers, this global popularity is masking a sinister...
    Essential oil?
    Palm oil is omnipresent in global consumption. But in many circles it is considered the scourge of the natural world, for the deforestation and habita...
    Alien views
    The tabloids would have us believe that immigrants are taking our houses, our jobs, our school places and our hospital beds. But a close reading of th...
    When the wind blows
    With 1,200 wind turbines due to be built in the UK this year, Mark Rowe explores the continuing controversy surrounding wind power and discusses the e...

MORE DOSSIERS

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Books

by William A. Ewing and Holly Roussell • Thames and…

Books

by Ben Coates • Nicholas Brealey Publishing • £12.99 (paperback)

Books

by Nicholas Crane • Weidenfeld & Nicolson • £12.99 (hardback)

Books

by Mary Robinson • Bloomsbury • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Pieter van der Merwe and Jeremy Michell • Bloomsbury • £18.99…

Books

by Simon Reeve • Hodder & Stoughton • £20 (hardback)

Books

by Michael Palin • Hutchinson • £20 (hardback/eBook)

Films

Powerful expedition film, screened at the 2018 Adventure Uncovered Film…

Books

by Laura Locker and Julia Scheele • Icon Books • £12.99 (paperback)

Books

by Patrick Nunn • Bloomsbury • £16.99 (hardback) • £14.99 (eBook)

Books

by Oliver Bullough • Profile Books • £20 (hardback) • £14.99 (eBook)

Books

by Thomas Reinertsen Berg • Hodder & Stoughton • £25 (hardback)

Books

by Adam Rutherford • Weidenfeld & Nicolson • £18.99 (hardback) • £9.99 (eBook)

Films

Ever since 1984, when the first TED conference took place,…

Exhibitions

Annual photography competition at the Natural History Museum celebrates the…

Exhibitions

We all have to live with buildings, but getting the…

Books

by Bruno Latour • Polity Books • £12.99 (hardback)

Books

edited by Fearghal O’Nuallain • Summersdale • £9.99 (paperback)

Books

by Francis Fukuyama • Profile Books • £16.99 (hardback) • £14.99 (eBook)