The Last Great Walk

The Last Great Walk

The True Story of a 1909 Walk from New York to San Francisco, and Why It Matters Today

By Wayne Curtis

Rodale Books, Hardcover, 9781609613723, 256pp.

Publication Date: September 9, 2014


In 1909, Edward Payson Weston walked from New York to San Francisco, covering around 40 miles a day and greeted by wildly cheering audiences in every city. The "New York Times "called it the """first bona-fide walk . . . across the American continent," and eagerly chronicled a journey in which Weston was beset by fatigue, mosquitos, vicious headwinds, and brutal heat. He was 70 years old.

In The Last Great Walk, journalist Wayne Curtis uses the framework of Weston's fascinating and surprising story, and investigates exactly what we lost when we turned away from foot travel, and what we could potentially regain with America's new embrace of pedestrianism. From how our brains and legs evolved to accommodate our ancient traveling needs to the way that American cities have been designed to cater to cars and discourage pedestrians, Curtis guides readers through an engaging, intelligent exploration of how something as simple as the way we get from one place to another continues to shape our health, our environment, and even our national identity.
Not walking, he argues, may be one of the most radical things humans have ever done.

About the Author
Wayne Curtis is the author of six novels, and many essays and short stories. He has contributed to such publications as the "Globe and Mail", the "National Post", the "Montreal Gazette, Fly Fisherman, Quill & Quire", and "Outdoor Canada". Winner of the David Adams Richards Award for short fiction, his stories have appeared in literary journals, been dramatized for CBC Radio, and filmed for CBC. He has been Writer-in-Residence at Berton House in Dawson City and Havana's prestigious Instituto Superior de Arte. In 2005 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from St. Thomas University in Fredericton. A native of Blackville, New Brunswick, Wayne caught his first salmon at the age of 8. He is an avid fly fisherman and spends half of each year on the Miramichi River where he finds time to work as a guide as well as write.