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Having a travel writer report on particular things, small things, the specific ways in which people act and interact, is perhaps our best way of getting beyond the clichés that we tell each other about different places and cultures, and about ourselves.And, as Bryson notes, many of the freshest voices are being drawn to foreign subjects far beyond the trampled paths of tourism. Within these pages, they chart the world from Nantucket to Zanzibar, the Atlas Mountains of Morocco to Australia's Cape York Peninsula with originality and keen observation. Some even go where none would follow: drawn by the allure of danger zones, Patrick Symmes rides a dirt bike to "perhaps the most forbidden city in the world" in search of the Khmer Rouge. Tim Cahill describes his own personal journey in hell--11 long days on a barge on the Ubangi River with 3,000 people packed so close together it's impossible to move without apologizing. (Fortunately, he's befriended by a man named God who is always in the know.)
Distance is not a prerequisite for travel writing, though humor is invaluable, as Bill Buford shows in his attempt to do what you just don't do--spend the night in Central Park. When Dave Eggers discovers hitchhiking is what makes Cuba move, it becomes the point of his trip to "pick up and move people, from here to there." Tongue in cheek, he declares, "So easy to change the quality, the very direction, of Cubans' lives!" Then again, sometimes humor is just not appropriate, particularly if you've been kidnapped by Ugandan rebels (as was Mark Ross) or you're trying to help the Dalai Lama choose the next Panchen Lama without jeopardizing lives (as did Isabel Hilton). In any case, it's all happening here--golf in Greenland, cheese smuggling from France, even a ride with the Toughest Truck Driver in the World. This collection proves that travel writing is a genre whose time has come. --Lesley Reed --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
All in all, a fine collection of essays.
Written very well and full of humor, the essay provides good insight into African culture, but I felt the author was a bit degrading toward the people.
Overall, if you love collected writings (some don't) and travel (which, oddly enough, some don't), you will enjoy this book.
This is the beat of published writing essays and provides the reader armchair travel to all parts of the globe. Enjoyable.Published 16 months ago by John S.
I had to buy this book for a class and I still own it. It is a great book with VERY good writing. I suggest purchasing before your next big adventure.Published 20 months ago by Stephanie
With this book I discovered that I like travel literature although not all. This is a collection of travelers' tales, complete with descriptions of how other cultures experience... Read morePublished on May 2, 2011 by Citizen John
I bought the audio (cassette) edition of this book partly because the seller advertised it as "unabridged". Hmmmm... Read morePublished on December 13, 2008 by Rennie Petersen
Americans generally care little for the world outside of its borders. And in the rare cases of foreign travel often Americans, "pay large sums to be transported to some distant... Read morePublished on July 26, 2006 by Ignatious Valve
"Best American Travel Writing 2000" is the first edition in yet another outstanding entry in the "Best American" series. Read morePublished on May 6, 2003 by Brian D. Rubendall
If you like Bill Bryson's writing (and I do), you'll enjoy this book. The stories are, for the most part, light, entertaining and enjoyable. Read morePublished on April 4, 2003 by H. Quinn
I really enjoyed reading these stories, especially since it is winter in New England at the moment. This book contains a broad assortment of travel stories--they are all quite... Read morePublished on January 25, 2003 by kristy cacciapaglia
"The more we know of particular things, the more we know of God." this quote, attributed to the philosopher Benedict Spinoza (1632-1677), sets the tone for this wonderful... Read morePublished on August 28, 2001 by Esther R. Nelson