Driving with Strangers: What Hitchhiking Tells Us About Humanity (Hardback)Jonathan Purkis (author)
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At a time of climate crisis, isolation and social breakdown, Driving with strangers is a manifesto to alter how we think about our place in the world. Veteran hitchhiker and lifelong aficionado of hitchhiking culture, Purkis journeys through the history of hitchhiking to explore the unique opportunities for cooperation, friendship, sustainability and openness that it represents.
Join Purkis on the kerbside, in search of Woody Guthrie as he examines the politics of the travelling song, deep on a Russian hitch-hiking expedition, or considering the politics of travel and risk on the 'Highway of Tears' in British Columbia, Canada. The reader is taken on a panoramic road trip through a century of hitchhiking across different decades, countries and continents.
Purkis, a self-styled 'vagabond sociologist', is the perfect passenger to accompany you on a journey away from isolation, social distancing, closed borders and into a better understanding of why and how strangers can enrich our lives.
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Number of pages: 312
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
'This book is an ambitious, comprehensive and fascinating celebration of the righteous pursuit of hitchhiking. I hope it inspires new hitchers and convinces uncertain readers.'
Amy Liptrot, author of The Outrun
'A marvelous, profound look at the art of hitchhiking: it is a journeying, questing book, opening up avenues of exploration, following curiosity-paths, creating networks of thoughts and discursive, fascinating politics. This is a book with a world within its covers: I am richer for having read it.'
Jay Griffiths, writer and author of Wild: An Elemental Journey
'At a time when cultivating human connection has never been more important, Driving with strangers is a wonderful tribute to the great art of hitchhiking and what it can teach us. Purkis takes us on a fascinating journey and opens up worlds of wisdom, story, and possibility. This is a captivating book that pays tribute to the remarkable power of the thumb to connect humanity.'
Ruairi McKiernan, Irish Times No. 1 bestselling author of Hitching for Hope: A Journey into the Heart and Soul of Ireland
'The hope expressed in Driving with Strangers is that the continuing presence of young hitchhikers - long before middle age when most of us, including Purkis himself, appear to give it up - and others who share their general outlook means an alternative future remains possible. Though the capacity-building and political re-imagining that Purkis would like to see emerge seems almost unrealisable in these conflictual and alienating times, we should not forget the mutuality and generosity that were brought to the forefront of everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic. If that could be harnessed in a political movement, we might even find ourselves hitchhiking again.'
Professor Tim Newburn, LSE Review of Books
'From the emotion of the first ever "thumb out" experience and the immediate discovery of all manner of life on the road, through to the fascinating unfolding history of how hitching has ebbed and flowed through the decades. Crossing continents, political time-zones and yesteryear travel scenes, this delightful narrative continues through to today's world of technology dominated travel environments. On the basis that travel will always be a force for good, enhanced by direct human communications, Jonathan Purkis' commentary, observations and stories will remain travel relevant for further decades to come. A cracking read and wonderful journey.'
Jono Vernon-Powell, Founder and Managing Director, Nomadic Thoughts (Worldwide Travel)
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