Pilgrimage in Terror – Katie Barron,review

Pilgrimage in Terror Book Cover Pilgrimage in Terror
Katie Barron
Non fiction

Armed with a pair of trainers and a supermarket 'Bag for Life' as hiking kit, Katie, 31, set off to walk the Camino, the ancient pilgrimage route that runs through Northern Spain from the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela. She was searching for answers to questions thrown up by the Twin Tower attacks and their aftermath. How should we react to terrorism? Should we react at all? Should we wage a war on terror? If so, why? If not, why? As she walked, she reconnected with the wise parts of Western traditional thought, both Christian and pagan, and found, as we all do, that peace begins at home - inside ourselves.

I’ve read a few books on the “Camino” and found they appeal to me. It does seem to be one of those topics that either evokes interest in people or leaves them somewhat cold. This book by Katie Barron uses her walk on a section of the Camino as a vehicle for a personal journey of sorts as others tend to do (if you want a guide book this is not it but then neither are the others I’ve read!). However I really did find it an interesting read. The book starts in London and focuses on the author’s anti war protest there starting in Autumn 2001. It looks at the people she met during the protest on both sides of the argument and I found the narrative interesting in many ways. While it is not that long ago (& hindsight is so useful!) it was interesting to read the diverse approaches to the war on terror – the range of opinions was quite wide. The author herself suggests she has moved from a right wing background to something rather more left and over the years my journey has been somewhat similar.

Moving on to her time of the Camino in September 2002 the chapters are wide ranging. She spends seven days on the Camino and each chapter has some information about the day’s walk however that tends to be almost incidental to the chapter. This is essentially a book about people, history, religion and reflections with a few other nuggets thrown in for good measure. I did find it quite a mix of thoughts and it is often very personal – it is certainly a journey in the wider sense of the word. There are a number of instances of often wry humour which I really did enjoy. Equally I found Katie a very good observer of the life that was around her and passing by whether those on the Camino or others she met. Her thumbnail sketches of some of the characters she walks with and meets were very good indeed (amusing too!). Endearing and enjoyable – thanks Katie for a very good read.

Disclosure – the author gave me a copy in exchange for a fair review