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The Crossway

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A BBC Radio 4 'Book of the Week' in 2018. In 2013 Guy Stagg made a pilgrimage from Canterbury to Jerusalem. Though a non-believer, he began the journey after suffering several years of mental illness, hoping the ritual would heal him. For ten months he hiked alone on ancient paths, crossing ten countries and more than 5,500 kilometres. The Crossway is an account of this ext A BBC Radio 4 'Book of the Week' in 2018. In 2013 Guy Stagg made a pilgrimage from Canterbury to Jerusalem. Though a non-believer, he began the journey after suffering several years of mental illness, hoping the ritual would heal him. For ten months he hiked alone on ancient paths, crossing ten countries and more than 5,500 kilometres. The Crossway is an account of this extraordinary adventure. Having left home on New Year’s Day, Stagg climbed over the Alps in midwinter, spent Easter in Rome with a new pope, joined mass protests in Istanbul and survived a terrorist attack in Lebanon. Travelling without support, he had to rely each night on the generosity of strangers, staying with monks and nuns, priests and families. As a result, he gained a unique insight into the lives of contemporary believers and learnt the fascinating stories of the soldiers and saints, missionaries and martyrs who had followed these paths before him. The Crossway is a book full of wonders, mixing travel and memoir, history and current affairs. At once intimate and epic, it charts the author’s struggle to walk towards recovery, and asks whether religion can still have meaning for those without faith.


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A BBC Radio 4 'Book of the Week' in 2018. In 2013 Guy Stagg made a pilgrimage from Canterbury to Jerusalem. Though a non-believer, he began the journey after suffering several years of mental illness, hoping the ritual would heal him. For ten months he hiked alone on ancient paths, crossing ten countries and more than 5,500 kilometres. The Crossway is an account of this ext A BBC Radio 4 'Book of the Week' in 2018. In 2013 Guy Stagg made a pilgrimage from Canterbury to Jerusalem. Though a non-believer, he began the journey after suffering several years of mental illness, hoping the ritual would heal him. For ten months he hiked alone on ancient paths, crossing ten countries and more than 5,500 kilometres. The Crossway is an account of this extraordinary adventure. Having left home on New Year’s Day, Stagg climbed over the Alps in midwinter, spent Easter in Rome with a new pope, joined mass protests in Istanbul and survived a terrorist attack in Lebanon. Travelling without support, he had to rely each night on the generosity of strangers, staying with monks and nuns, priests and families. As a result, he gained a unique insight into the lives of contemporary believers and learnt the fascinating stories of the soldiers and saints, missionaries and martyrs who had followed these paths before him. The Crossway is a book full of wonders, mixing travel and memoir, history and current affairs. At once intimate and epic, it charts the author’s struggle to walk towards recovery, and asks whether religion can still have meaning for those without faith.

30 review for The Crossway

  1. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    From BBC radio 4 - Book of the week: An epic journey, but also an intimate one. After several years of mental illness, Guy Stagg set off one morning, from London, to walk to Canterbury. Ill-prepared and not entirely clear why he was doing this, he nevertheless got there. Exhausted, he lay beneath the Cathedral walls and then decided to continue. A few months later, on New Year's Day, 2013, he set out from Canterbury to follow the paths of the medieval pilgrims to Jerusalem. Ten months and 5,500 ki From BBC radio 4 - Book of the week: An epic journey, but also an intimate one. After several years of mental illness, Guy Stagg set off one morning, from London, to walk to Canterbury. Ill-prepared and not entirely clear why he was doing this, he nevertheless got there. Exhausted, he lay beneath the Cathedral walls and then decided to continue. A few months later, on New Year's Day, 2013, he set out from Canterbury to follow the paths of the medieval pilgrims to Jerusalem. Ten months and 5,500 kilometres later, he arrived. This is the story of his walk. Danger and physical hardship lay in his path but he was also haunted by the memories that he sought to flee and ambushed by echoes of his breakdown. In five extracts from his account, this reading follows some of his experiences through snow and storm across the Alps, among other pilgrims in Italy, despairing and alone in Greece, and finally to the incessant rounds of competing worship in Jerusalem. It's a journey through the pathways of faith and recovery towards healing and understanding. In the first episode Guy leaves England for France, where the weather turns grim and the strangers are kind. Written by Guy Stagg Read by Jonathan Bailey Abridged by Jill Waters and Isobel Creed Produced by Jill Waters A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b6...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mimi

    This was recommended to me, and I'm glad it was because there was a lot to like in this account of Stagg’s (agnostic) pilgrimage from Canterbury to Jerusalem. The way he related his journey to dealing with the aftermath of crisis and depression reminded me slightly of Richard Mabey’s excellent 'Nature Cure', although Mabey’s journey was more of an inward one. Stagg combines his personal journey with an account of those who came before, as well as their historical contexts, such as his fascinatin This was recommended to me, and I'm glad it was because there was a lot to like in this account of Stagg’s (agnostic) pilgrimage from Canterbury to Jerusalem. The way he related his journey to dealing with the aftermath of crisis and depression reminded me slightly of Richard Mabey’s excellent 'Nature Cure', although Mabey’s journey was more of an inward one. Stagg combines his personal journey with an account of those who came before, as well as their historical contexts, such as his fascinating account of the Knights Templar. There were some sections where this intermingling of the historical with the present doesn’t quite come off and the personal fails to mesh with these (often dry) accounts but other sections that worked really well; I particularly enjoyed his coverage of Turkey and Cyprus, and it was a surprise to find Stagg meeting with Alev Scott (I read her 'Turkish Awakening' a while ago) almost as if I’d bumped into an old friend unexpectedly.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Dipple

    This book describes a sort of Dantean journey across Europe - destination Jerusalem - in which the author makes, or hopes to make, a journey of self-discovery. Consequently much of the interest hangs on whether the reader feels interested in the author and his problems. That could be a drawback for some readers. I may be cynical but it seemed to me that some conversations reported in great detail may have been fictionalised to fit in with the unfolding scheme of the book, and I thought the same o This book describes a sort of Dantean journey across Europe - destination Jerusalem - in which the author makes, or hopes to make, a journey of self-discovery. Consequently much of the interest hangs on whether the reader feels interested in the author and his problems. That could be a drawback for some readers. I may be cynical but it seemed to me that some conversations reported in great detail may have been fictionalised to fit in with the unfolding scheme of the book, and I thought the same of some experiences he reports along the way, e.g Holy Week in Rome. That's probably me being cynical, or poetic licence.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tweakiepop

    3.5*

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Broughton

    Well written but better suited to someone more interested in the history of Christianity.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Purple

    An amazing account of an amazing journey. Reflective, honest, thought provoking.

  7. 3 out of 5

    Steve Streeter

    Thought provoking and reflective .. Guy Stagg opened up his heart and soul to share his journey - a beautiful meditation on pilgrimage

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jojo

    I always enjoy hearing about activities and events that I believe (or hope) I will never take part in myself. This pleasant account of a pilgrimage fulfilled this want.

  9. 3 out of 5

    sean exner baumann

  10. 3 out of 5

    Anna Kurgan

  11. 3 out of 5

    Sarah

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alice

  13. 3 out of 5

    Mark

  14. 3 out of 5

    Rosemary Nutt

  15. 4 out of 5

    Doug Beagrie

  16. 4 out of 5

    Richard Ryan

  17. 3 out of 5

    Alice

  18. 3 out of 5

    Cindy Greatrex

  19. 4 out of 5

    Peter North

  20. 3 out of 5

    sheila rowe

  21. 4 out of 5

    Charlie Smith

  22. 5 out of 5

    Helen

  23. 5 out of 5

    John O'Flaherty

  24. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

  25. 3 out of 5

    Craig

  26. 3 out of 5

    Matt

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gerard Murphy

  28. 3 out of 5

    Lee

  29. 3 out of 5

    Rebecca

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dora

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