cover image Alone on the Great Wall

Alone on the Great Wall

William Lindesay. Fulcrum Group, $14.95 (240pp) ISBN 978-1-55591-079-2

British runner Lindesay longs to be a traveler in the grand manner, admitting that he was drawn to make his grueling 2500-kilometer run along the length of China's Great Wall because it was ``the last great adventure opportunity.'' This chronicle of his two-year obsession describes two ill-planned and abortive attempts ending in sickness and retreat and his final successful journey. Lindesay battles bureaucracy, blisters and the elements, all of which seem bent on preventing his attainment of an avowedly quixotic goal. Along the route, he meets his future wife and gains the rare privilege of seeing behind the facade of a totalitarian state and into the faces of its people. Well-written and entertaining, the book should appeal to runners, who vicariously will share the author's travails and cheer his determination and ultimate good fortune. Armchair tourists will enjoy the wealth of information about the Middle Kingdom and the daily lives of its citizens. However, Lindesay's use of Briticismsstet/rl and his right-wing politics (he presents AIDS to some inquisitive Chinese as a gay disease) will deter many readers from following this intrepid athlete the distance. (Sept.)