Sucking Polo Dry

Posted on by David Gelber

Travel writers who have long been seeking to earn an honest crust naturally find the present surge of interest in their genre an economic Good Thing. It is not, however, a literary Good Thing. For a decade or more, droves of enterprising travellers have been going to X, Y or Z with camels, snow mobiles, […]

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Once So Great

Posted on by David Gelber

Hyland’s journey begins and ends in ‘crumbly old layer-cake Lisbon’, and in between he follows the Tagus, lingering over whatever real or metaphorical tributary takes his fancy. When he crosses the river, to Cacilhas, it is a literal rite of passage.

Burma Discovered through a Shapely Basket

Posted on by David Gelber

In 1988 Rory MacLean got on the wrong plane in Hong Kong and went to Burma by accident. The year after that, the dictators put down a popular uprising by killing more than five thousand people, and the State Law and Order Restoration Council switched the country’s official English name to Myanmar in an attempt […]

European Scepticism is Normal

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

In identically Bill-Brysonesque dust jackets, these two books seek to rediscover Europe by means of modern-day Grand Tours. Nick Middleton sticks to existing members of the Union, including recherché outposts like Ceuta and Helsinki, while Nicholas Fraser ventures east to Poland, Russia and Bosnia. Middleton wants to find out if Germans really are humourless, Scandinavians […]

Still Glowing?

Posted on by Marketing Manager

In the concluding chapter to his classic travel book, English Journal, written in 1933, J B Priestley wrote this sublime passage: Ours is a country that has given the world something more than a million yards of calico and thousands of steam engines. If we are a nation of shopkeepers, then what a shop! There […]

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Trusting Well-Wisher

Posted on by Tom Fleming

In his last travel book – though ‘travel book’ does not quite describe A Turn in the South – V S Naipaul spoke about a more conventional book, the sort many travellers write today and the sort of country they travel in. The place might be in Africa or South America. ‘It is often enough for […]

Die Dismal Fog

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

When the English racing driver Nigel Mansell won the 1986 British Grand Prix in front of thousands of cheering supporters and swept to the top of the drivers’ table, his post-race interview with the BBC’s stentorian Murray Walker contained no euphoria or shared congratulation; it concentrated on the fact that a last-minute switch of car […]

Labels & Remote People

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

‘The book that interests me most this week is a new travel book issued by Duckworth, under the title Labels. My interest in it comes less from any outstanding merits it may possess than from the fact that I wrote it myself ….’ (Evelyn Waugh reviewing Labels in Graphic on its publication in 1930).

To Boldly Go

Posted on by Tom Fleming

Danziger is the stuff that legends are made of. In early April 1984 he set off overland to Peking on what must be one of the most extraordinary journeys undertaken this century. In the course of eighteen months and sixteen thousand miles he was beaten up, had his rucksack stolen, was bombed by Russian MiGs, […]

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