Ted Conover: The Routes of Man

The Routes of Man Ted Conover  I count myself as one of the many ardent fans of Ted Conover, ever since he wrote Newjack: Guarding Sing-Sing, which is a gritty nonfiction story about prison life. And to think once the prison authorities turned him down for access, he simply got a job as a prison guard. He got to write about all sorts of fun, light-hearted prisoners, like the one that routinely stored his piss in his mouth, waiting to spew it on a passing guard.

Anyway, this post is not about Newjack. Conover's just come out with The Routes of Man. It's a book about roads (as if you couldn't tell from the cover), which sounds dull but is not. Also, the subtitle might have tipped you off: How Roads Are Changing the World and the Ways We Live Today. The concept reminds me a bit of Wendell Berry's distinction between roads and paths — roads are imposed upon nature, cutting through the topographical landscape with impunity, while paths work with nature, curving and rising and dipping in order to adjust itself to the land.

Conover's blogging about the book a bit at Powell's, which has links to the introduction explaining why he wrote the book.

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