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On Roads

Imprint: Profile Books
Subject: History & Classics

On Roads

A Hidden History

Joe Moran

'A masterpiece' Sunday Times, 'Terrific' Guardian, 'Sparkling' Telegraph, 'Beautiful' Mail on Sunday
Universally acclaimed across newspapers, TV and radio
Universally acclaimed across broadsheets, tabloids, TV and radio

eBook (ePUB/MOBI)?
9781847654939 (9 Dec 2010)

About the book

In this history of roads and what they have meant to the people who have driven them, one of Britain's favourite cultural historians reveals how a relatively simple road system turned into a maze-like pattern of roundabouts, flyovers, and spaghetti junctions. Using a unique blend of travel writing, anthropology, history and social observation, he explores how Britain's roads have their roots in unexpected places, from Napoleon's role in the numbering system to the surprising origin of sat-nav. Full of quirky nuggets of history, such as the day trips organised to see the construction of the M1 and the 2.5m Mills and Boons used to build the M6 Toll Road, On Roads also celebrates innovators whose work we take for granted, such as the designers of the road sign system. On subjects ranging from speed limits to driving on the left, and the 'non-places where we stop to the unwritten laws of traffic jams, these hidden stories have never been told together, until now.

About the author

Joe Moran is a Reader in Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University. He writes regularly for the Guardian, New Statesman and FT, and has been tipped by the Times Higher as one of the bestselling academics of the future. He is the author of Queuing for Beginners [9781861978417], and according to David Kynaston is 'single-handedly transforming the history of everyday life in modern Britain'.


Every page contains something enthralling or bizarre or funny or perceptive ... Moran has the poet's ability to finds the remarkable in the commonplace ... a beautiful little book: an argument, if ever there was one, for staying home this summer, finding the nearest traffic jam and enjoying it.

- Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday, *****

A beauftifully-written, quiet masterpiece ... Moran's genius is to show us what was right in front of us all along'

- Bee Wilson, Sunday Times

Terrific ... he takes numerous diversions into subjects that really shouldn't be interesting, but which he makes fascinating.

- Robert Macfarlane, Guardian

In this book Joe Moran maps the fascinating history of British roads...

- Charlotte Vowden, Daily Express

A stylish and witty analysis of Britain's maze-like road system. They are cultural artefacts as much as a means of transport; they are too a kind of parallel universe.

- Philip Womack, Sunday Telegraph

Additional Information

Imprint: Profile Books
Subject: History & Classics

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