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The Best American Travel Writing 2001 Hardcover – October 10, 2001

ISBN-13: 004-6442118774 ISBN-10: 0618118772 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Series: Best American
  • Hardcover: 418 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (October 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618118772
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618118779
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6.6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,737,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This second volume in the series presents more exemplars of armchair reading (in this case, armchair listening), taking people away from daily routine to exotic, often remote settings. Theroux introduces the 11 selections, which are written by some of the most renowned travel writers, including Russell Banks, Susan Orlean and Pico Iyer. The locales span the globe, from the Caribbean to the Arctic; the essays' common thread is their authors' enthusiasm for their chosen destinations. Though overall this a charming package, Theroux's introduction is a bit long and doesn't provide a strong thematic connection to the selections that follow, and listeners will be disappointed when they learn Salman Rushdie does not to read his own piece. However, the selections are all well narrated. Several "The Endless Hunt" by Gretel Ehrlich, "Daughter of the Wind" by Lawrence Millman and "Into the Heart of the Middle Kingdom" by Kathleen Lee are superb. These narrations are so strong and evocative that listeners will feel almost as if they have accompanied the authors on their travels. Though not as stunning as last year's collection, this is nonetheless ideal for car listeners who wish they were en route to the Andes instead of Detroit. Simultaneous release with the Houghton Mifflin hardcover.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

JASON WILSON is the drinks columnist at the Washington Post, the series editor of The Smart Set, and the author of Boozehound: On The Trail of the Rare, the Obscure, and the Overrated. He teaches at Drexel University.

PAUL THEROUX is the author of many highly acclaimed books. His novels include The Lower River and The Mosquito Coast, and his renowned travel books include Ghost Train to the Eastern Star and Dark Star Safari. He lives in Hawaii and Cape Cod.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on December 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
Anyone who's read Paul Theroux's travel books - "The Old Patagonian Express," "The Happy Isles of Oceania" - knows he's not in it for the fun. His selections for the best travel pieces of 2000 (for this 2001 edition), reflect his seriousness of purpose, his sense of place and his eye for quality writing. "It is not about vacations," he states in his introduction, and explains, "travel writing at its best relates a journey of discovery that is frequently risky and sometimes grim and often pure horror, with a happy ending: to hell and back."
This book is not about places you want to go to. It's about the world, much of it remote, in its workaday, sometimes hostile, raiment. Taken from a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, presented in alphabetical order (with contributor notes in the back), these essays consider the reflective traveler's relation to unfamiliar places, people, and events.
There are contemplative journeys: Russell Banks' strange encounter at the top of the Andes; Scott Anderson's brotherly competition for dangerous destinations; Lawrence Millman's lighthearted sojourn on the Mediterranean island of Pantelleria; Janet Malcolm's search for Chekhov in the places he wrote about; Edward Said's grim "Paradise Lost," recalling his idyllic childhood in the Lebanese hills, now buried in rubble.
There are anthropological adventures like Gretel Ehrlich's long dog-sled hunt with the Inuit in Greenland and there are adventures touched with politics and history, like Philip Caputo's travels among the man-eating lions of Kenya, Tim Cahill's trip to Ecuador's erupting volcanoes (and their villages) and David Quammen's winter search for the wolves in post-communist Romania.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Awed Listener on October 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
Last year's "Best American Travel Writing" was a very, very satisfying collection; I have read it twice, have placed it on my "permanent" bookshelf, and constantly recommend it to friends who are ardent nonfiction readers and/or travelers. This 2001 volume is enjoyable but not as well balanced. The 2000 edition had its share of serious and sometimes even searing and terrifying articles, but those entries were leavened by a few sidesplittingly funny ones. Since my favorite travel experiences have been guffaw-worthy (usually at my expense), I appreciated the inclusion of the humor. I'm a HUGE fan of Paul Theroux's fiction (especially "My Secret History" and "My Other Life," and some of his short stories and novellas), but not his travel books; while I would love to sit down with Paul and talk for hours about books, the idea of traveling with him is about as appealing as spending a week on the road with my aged and increasingly whiney Aunt Sally. So perhaps that explains my respect for but RELATIVE lack of enthusiasm for this collection. Taken separately, each article is compelling; but put together, this is a somewhat somber collection. Having said that, I must urge you to buy this book--each entry is worthy of a careful reading and will expand your knowledge of the world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By alexthedog on January 9, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
BUYER BEWARE - especially if you are purchasing this Audio CD to supplement or replace reading the book. NOT ALL ESSAYS FROM THE BOOK ARE ON THIS AUDIO CD.
They have annoyingly used the book table of contents in the photo for this audio CD, and they state "unabridged" in the listing.
Technically, each of the essays CHOSEN are unabridged, but the book itself has been abridged from about 26 essays to only 11 chosen for the CD.
The Audio CD should be more clear in stating how much the material in the book is omitted. "Unabridged" should refer to the book compared to the CD, not describing the individual pieces within the abridged work. That's the equivalent of abridging a novel and saying "Well, only 5 of the novel's 10 chapters are included, but each chapter is written in its entirety."

This is the specific listing under which I purchased this audio CD:

Thankfully I was purchasing the CD as a supplement to the book, not in place of it, or I would not have known I was missing more than half the pieces. As I've been reading the book, they definitely missed a couple of nice ones if they were picking "the best" of this "best of" collection for the audio cd.

This tactic of taking less than half of a book for audio CD's and having the gall to call it "unabridged" in the listing should be an illegal move, false advertising and if the best I can do is give it only 1 star for false advertising, lousy selection of the whole, then I at least can offer that.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James Seymour on May 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed the volumes before and after this one immensely, and only bought this one with reluctance. I was correct in my misgivings.

While many of the pieces are quite good, I did find a monotonous repetition in the style of the pieces. Hearty adventurer finds some remote location, undertakes a manly man's activity (even when a woman) and reports on it with an affected sarcasm or wryness or ennui style. Ho-hum. Doesn't Theroux write entire books like this? Maybe I've just read too much of his works to like the derivatives.

Thankfully, I skipped those pieces to read the good ones (even good ones that fit the above mode -- like Philip Capute's piece about looking for lions while on safari). Those jewels made me glad to buy this volume, even though I skipped the bulk of the pieces.

Of course, if you LIKE gonzo-style travel writing, then this is the volume for you. Buy it and enjoy.
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