Lace up your metaphorical hiking boots because this is one epic journey! You'll "walk" a thousand miles with Timothy Egan along the Via Francigena, a medieval pilgrim's trail from Canterbury to Rome. Along the way, Egan recounts—in buoyant prose—the history of every village, monastery, and cultural artifact he encounters. What emerges is a fascinating, albeit brutally violent, centuries-long history of Christianity, as well as a very personal exploration of the religion's present condition. I love the way Egan travels ("with a fistful of Gruyère in one hand and a packet of berries in the other"
) and find his combination of skeptical realism and spiritual optimism surprisingly uplifting. (CH)