Bibliography - Motoring Books
In some of these books the
travelling (and mode of transport) isn't really what the book's about,
but you can bet they won't have walked or cycled it!
The Automobilist Abroad by Francis Miltoun, L C Page and Company (US), 1907
The first account I've found
of a drive from End to End, although this takes only 17 pages of the
book. It is presented more as a motorists' guidebook than as an account
of a journey, but most of it is subjective, including something of an
anti-British prejudice throughout.
From Dover to John O’Groats’
House in a Motor Car by Grinnell Willis, 1912
A particularly pointless after-dinner speech documenting a
golfing holiday, printed up for some reason now probably lost in the mists of
On Old-World Highways by Thos D Murphy, L C Page and Company (US), 1914
About a third of this book is an account of a tour through
Britain from John
O’Groats to Land’s End, the remainder covering touring
in France and Germany. A good account of early long-distance touring
by car: in fact the continental part is more interesting than the British part.
From Land’s End to John O’Groats by Jessie Barker Gardner,
published privately (US), 1930
This is a pretty awful account by a rich American tourist
driving through Britain
with her husband. They appear to have
been interested only in castles and antiques, and there is little about the
people they meet or local culture. One
From Land’s End to John O’Groats by Colin Howard,
An entertaining account of a pre-war motorcar jaunt. Recommended.
Roaming Britain by Willard Price, John Day Company (US), 1958
Half this book is
about a journey from source to mouth of the Thames, by boat once there
was enough water in the river. The second half is an American motor
tour of the UK, albeit one with more insight than the average. This
isn't a bad book, but it's for US audiences of its time, rather than UK
audiences of now.
Springtime in Britain
by Edwin Way Teale,
Cassell, 1971 (also Pan paperback)
Edwin Way Teale won a Pulitzer prize for his earlier books
but this “Americans in Britain”
account isn’t particularly inspirational.
A 11000-mile (sic) naturalist’s meander by car through Britain,
starting at Land’s End and ending at John O’Groats.
The Kingdom by the Sea by Paul Theroux, Hamish Hamilton, 1983 (also Penguin paperback)
The American travel
writer Paul Theroux made a tour around the coast of the United Kingdom
in 1982, and this is his account of that journey. He travelled mainly
by train and bus, although he also did some walking. A book worth
reading, although he does tend to major in the more depressing and
sordid aspects and skip over the scenic. Well-written of course, but it
left me wondering if all his writing revels in the grotty bits of where
he goes. I'll probably pick up another of his books to find out.
The Bedside Rambler by Christopher Somerville, Harper Collins, 1991
A miscellany of classic writings about the British
countryside, starting at Land’s End and ending at John
O’Groats. Not quite an End to End
journey, but a fascinating read for anyone planning one. Recommended.
The City of Woods and Fields by Stephen Butler, Mainstream Publishing, 1992
account of a meandering drive in a ramshackle Morris Minor van from
Armadale on the north coast of Scotland to Zennor in Cornwall, via
every letterof the alphabet. Recommended.
The Longest Crawl by Ian Marchant, Bloomsbury, 2006
crawl from the Isles of Scilly to the Shetlands. Highly entertaining,
although I don't think Ian Marchant drank anywhere near as much as Tony Hobbs. Or me for that matter. Recommended.
Page last updated 26 August 2008