"A beautiful interweaving of memoir and history, of driving narrative and insightful reflection." - Ken McGoogan, author of Dead Reckoning and Kerouac's Ghost
Accessible and entertaining, Road Through Time begins with the story of how anatomically modern humans left Africa to populate the world. She then carries us along the Silk Road in Central Asia, and tells of roads built for war in Persia, the Andes, and the Roman Empire. She sails across the seas, and introduces the first railways, all before plunking us down in the middle of a massive, modern freeway.
The book closes with a view from the end of the road, literally and figuratively, asking, can we meet the challenges presented by a mode of travel dependent on hydrocarbons, or will we decline, like so many civilizations that have come before us?
"Mary Soderstrom has set herself a giant task in Road Through Time--one that begins with the first anatomically modern humans leaving Africa and ends on a bus zigzagging its way through today's South America.... [It] provides a lucidly written overview of this particular march through the lens of time: the discovery of horses as transport, the invention of the wheel, the establishment of early trade routes, and the expansion of empires through war. Soderstrom's narrative picks up steam, literally, as she takes us through the development of trains in the nineteenth century and automobiles in the twentieth... Soderstrom transports us from the romance to the brutality of the road and leaves us wondering if there's room (or time) for still more marches across this aching planet." - Quill & Quire
"A fascinating, entertaining, and informative read from cover to cover." - Midwest Book Review
"A thought-provoking, modern overview of humanity's grant migrations in the ancient past, framed by her own nostalgic memories of a road trip during her childhood. Sometime between 50,000 and 80,000 years before modern transportation, anatomically modern humans trudged their way out of Africa to every corner of the Old World not covered in ice, and then beyond. Soderstrom explores the paths these travelers took on land and by sea, the objects they carried with them, and the ways in which they transformed the world." - Publishers Weekly