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Pilgrimage to the End of the World: The Road to Santiago de Compostela Paperback – May 19 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 138 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (May 19 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226731278
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226731278
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 222 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #428,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Inside Flap

Traveling two and a half months and one thousand miles along the ancient route through southern France and northern Spain, Conrad Rudolph made the passage to the holy site of Santiago de Compostela, one of the most important modern-day pilgrimage destinations for Westerners. In this chronicle of his travels to this captivating place, Rudolph melds the ancient and the contemporary, the spiritual and the physical, in a book that is at once travel guide, literary work, historical study, and memoir.

About the Author

Conrad Rudolph is a professor of medieval art and chair of the art history department at the University of California, Riverside. This is his fourth book.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I glanced at the beginning of Pilgrimage To The End Of The World, meaning to start reading it later. Supper neglected, I didn't put it down till I finished the last page. This morning I read through it again.
In 1996 Conrad Rudolph walked the one thousand mile trail from Le Puy in France to Santiago de Compostela on the western side of Spain. This small book - 131 pages - 4 chapters - has a disconcertingly accurate capture of the feelings that come with being a long distance pilgrim.
The first chapter talks about the pilgrimage in the middle ages and its continuation in some form to the present time - a lively presentation of medieval history. Chapters two and three were the ones that gave me flashbacks.
In two, The Pilgrimage, his stories of feelings, encounters, experiences from the 1996 trip uniquely identify that long journey. In three, Views of the Journey, there are stark black and white photos, usually accompanied by a half page or more of text. The black and white works well. This is a serious journey and they convey that impression.
Chapter four is the how to part: Doing the Pilgrimage. There is a lot of good information here. I disagree on a few things like cotton and external backpacks, but this is something that worked for him. Gear constantly changes. I think if he made this trip again in 2005 he would vary his gear list, so check other references such as the online Camino forums before going.
Dogs. Clearly in 1996 dogs were a frequent problem. I've traveled the Spain part in 2001, and part of the French route in 2004 and never had a problem with a loose dog, but to the point for this paragraph: to the author: I want to know the rest of the story of "the four certifiably homicidal German Shepherds" ..."crazy with blood lust". How did you escape? Please post on a camino forum or publisher website.
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By A Customer on May 1 2004
Format: Paperback
Why do so many travelers who trudge the long, dusty road to the Spanish pilgrimage city of Santiago de Conmpostela choose to pen books on the subject? And why are so many of them published? Is it because this varied and sometimes arduous journey continues, after more than 1000 years, to inspire and fascinate those who take up its challenge? A simple subject search at this site will deliver dozens of related titles.
Having read many of them, I can attest that this new one, by the art historian Conrad Rudolph, is overall the best. It is short, cheap, and in about 120 pages, packs in everything: a history of pilgrimage as well as a personal account of the author's own trek over 1000 miles, that promises to engage the mind and senses of even the most skeptical reader or seasoned traveler. Some quixotic photographs and great advice for anyone who wants to embark on this trek round out the volume. The writing is wonderful. It is, in a word, a gem. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the middle ages, in northern Spain and southern France, or in making the pilgrimage, whether on the actual road or in the imagination, coming to the experience from the cozy comfort of an armchair.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm fascinated by the Santiago pilgrimmage, and thought this would be a good read. But it was instead a strange, magical realist treatise, more about the author's strange faith than about the journey at all.
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Format: Hardcover
well written and very useful.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa692c420) out of 5 stars 16 reviews
57 of 57 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa604de64) out of 5 stars Best book in every way May 1 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Why do so many travelers who trudge the long, dusty road to the Spanish pilgrimage city of Santiago de Conmpostela choose to pen books on the subject? And why are so many of them published? Is it because this varied and sometimes arduous journey continues, after more than 1000 years, to inspire and fascinate those who take up its challenge? A simple subject search at this site will deliver dozens of related titles.
Having read many of them, I can attest that this new one, by the art historian Conrad Rudolph, is overall the best. It is short, cheap, and in about 120 pages, packs in everything: a history of pilgrimage as well as a personal account of the author's own trek over 1000 miles, that promises to engage the mind and senses of even the most skeptical reader or seasoned traveler. Some quixotic photographs and great advice for anyone who wants to embark on this trek round out the volume. The writing is wonderful. It is, in a word, a gem. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the middle ages, in northern Spain and southern France, or in making the pilgrimage, whether on the actual road or in the imagination, coming to the experience from the cozy comfort of an armchair.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa60502e8) out of 5 stars Rudolph has walked the walk. Not your ordinary travel book July 9 2004
By Timecheck - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I glanced at the beginning of Pilgrimage To The End Of The World, meaning to start reading it later. Supper neglected, I didn't put it down till I finished the last page. This morning I read through it again.
In 1996 Conrad Rudolph walked the one thousand mile trail from Le Puy in France to Santiago de Compostela on the western side of Spain. This small book - 131 pages - 4 chapters - has a disconcertingly accurate capture of the feelings that come with being a long distance pilgrim.
The first chapter talks about the pilgrimage in the middle ages and its continuation in some form to the present time - a lively presentation of medieval history. Chapters two and three were the ones that gave me flashbacks.
In two, The Pilgrimage, his stories of feelings, encounters, experiences from the 1996 trip uniquely identify that long journey. In three, Views of the Journey, there are stark black and white photos, usually accompanied by a half page or more of text. The black and white works well. This is a serious journey and they convey that impression.
Chapter four is the how to part: Doing the Pilgrimage. There is a lot of good information here. I disagree on a few things like cotton and external backpacks, but this is something that worked for him. Gear constantly changes. I think if he made this trip again in 2005 he would vary his gear list, so check other references such as the online Camino forums before going.
Dogs. Clearly in 1996 dogs were a frequent problem. I've traveled the Spain part in 2001, and part of the French route in 2004 and never had a problem with a loose dog, but to the point for this paragraph: to the author: I want to know the rest of the story of "the four certifiably homicidal German Shepherds" ..."crazy with blood lust". How did you escape? Please post on a camino forum or publisher website.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa605030c) out of 5 stars A rationalist walks the Camino. July 3 2007
By Erik Olson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As I write this review, I'm wearing the boots I plan to use on my own Camino pilgrimage next week. In addition to breaking them in, I've been preparing my body, mind, and heart for the long walk to Santiago. Reading "Pilgrimage to the End of the World" was an enjoyable and necessary part of that process.

Conrad Rudolph's book on the Camino de Santiago has four parts: 1) some historical background, 2) an account of his trek, 3) a series of black-and-white personal photographs with explanations that range from a paragraph to a page or so long, and 4) a practical guide (what to wear, how to pack, etc.). Despite its brevity (only 131 pages), Mr. Rudolph's memoir is packed with useful and interesting information. The surprising revelation that the author is a rationalist only serves to make his tale more compelling, especially considering the profound effect a pilgrimage usually done for spiritual reasons had upon him.

Indeed, the Camino began as an important medieval religious pilgrimage to Santiago, alleged burial place of St. James. But it has grown to accommodate folks on quests of many kinds. What's ironic about Mr. Rudolph's journey is that despite his rationalist mindset, he walked the farthest distance of any pilgrim, faith-based or otherwise, I've read about so far. He began in Le Puy, France, went through Santiago, and concluded in Finisterre - the "End of the World" on the Spanish west coast. That's about double the walking distance from the usual starting point of St. Jean Pied de Port, a French town on the Spanish border. And I thought we religious folk were supposed to be the crazy ones...

Despite his excellent account and helpful information, I part ways with the author in one key area: his firm recommendation of an external-frame pack. He's correct about the increased ventilation it offers, since the external frame holds the pack away from one's back. But according to another pilgrim's memoir, you'll sweat no matter what kind of pack you carry. Also, there are far more sizes and types of internal-frame packs to choose from. At REI I found only one model of external frame pack for sale among the plethora of internal packs - a forlorn Kelty similar to the one the author used. Bottom line, I'd say that an internal-frame pack is a better choice (I'm taking a 4,300 cubic-inch Gregory Baltoro).

At any rate, "Pilgrimage to the End of the World" is a must-read for anyone contemplating, or actually preparing for, the Camino pilgrimage. Other helpful and inspirational books I used to get ready include: "Buen Camino," by Jim & Eleanor Clem, "Camino Chronicle" by Susan Alcorn, and "Fumbling," by Kerry Egan (also, check the Confraternity of St. James' website for lots of good info and up-to-date Camino guidebooks). If you choose to go, let me be the first you wish you a Buen Camino!

UPDATE 9/7/07: On 7/14/07 I stepped off in St. Jean Pied-de-Port (France), and on 8/24/07 I walked into Santiago, Spain. Turned out that the boots I mentioned in the first paragraph were too heavy, so I bought a lighter Spanish pair in Logrono that served me well. My internal-frame pack was the Camino standard (although the model I had was too large and initially weighted down with unnecessary stuff) - out of the hundreds of pilgrims I saw, only a couple had external frame packs. At any rate, I recommend this book as necessary reading for anyone planning to walk the Way.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6050624) out of 5 stars Short and Sweet Feb. 26 2005
By Linda Pagliuco - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wonder if Conrad Rudolph is a man of few words. He has certainly managed to convey the essence of his 2-1/2 month pilgrimage in only 131 pages. Rudolph describes himself as a man with virtually no belief in "miracles or the otherworldly", yet experiences a deep, life altering sense of spirituality on his physically punishing trek. Simultaneously a travel guide, with practical information and sensible advice, a brief history of Santiago and the medieval religious psyche, and an insightful, first hand memoir evoking the texture and trials of the place and the journey. The photos in the second half of the book do much to bring Rudolph's eloquent words to life. I don't keep all of the books I read in my home library, but this one has found a permanent spot.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa60505d0) out of 5 stars Nice read Nov. 1 2012
By Ellen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've enjoyed this book very much. The author did not dwell on the strength it takes to walk the Camino, but you got a feel for it when you see pictures of him in his knee braces. The book was about the journey through cultures. Mr. Rudolph did not undertake this as a religious journey but as an interesting walk through history. I enjoyed the fact that he made no judgements on any of the other pilgrims, or their reasons for walking the Camino. He held fast to the ancient route starting in France and ending in Finesterre (world's end) which is a 3 day journey beyond Santiago. I recommend this book highly.


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