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The Best American Travel Writing 2004 (The Best American Series) Paperback – October 14, 2004
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Indeed, screenwriter Richie Chevat turns a routine vacation to the beach into riotous screenplay, while Adam Gopnik weaves anthropoligical critique and historical perspective into an engaging essay about riding the bus in Manhattan.
In "Ghost Road" one of the strongest pieces of the anthology (and there are many), Mark Jenkins chronicles his obsession with traveling the Stillwell Road in Burma, and his ultimate decision to abandon the "arrogant" quest given the danger to the Burmese he enlists to assist him. "Real adventure-- self-determined, self-motivated, often risky-- forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world... Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind-- and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both." It is a masterpiece-- a riveting narrative filled with percipience and grace.
My only quibble is the paucity of female voices.
My only reservation is that the universe of publications, from which the articles were selected, seems to be limited. You will see a similarity between the 2003 and 2004 publications.
As another review has pointed out the selections seem to come from a rather limited field: The New Yorker, National Geographic, Travel&Leisure. There are thousands of publication venues, yet Pico Iyer decided to treat us to an anthology that is top heavy with selections from the main stream "Big Media" press. The publisher of this series, Houghton-Mifflin hasn't strayed far from the ground that it feels most comfortable with-established main stream authors. Even the piece by Tim Cahill does not represent his best writing. Most of the selections in this book seem like warmed-up left-overs.
As another reviewer has mentioned, only 4 of the 24 selected authors are women writers. This just boggles the mind... were there no women writers of merit in 2004?
My main concern is that few of these selections are really "travel stories". Some are set in foreign locales, but deal with subjects like teaching English in Tanzania, riding the bus in NYC, famine in Ethiopia ,and political repression in Burma. There is also an irritating post-9/11 angst in several of the essays.Read more ›
1. Romance. (4) An interesting look into American road travel of yesteryear (1930's). The whole romance angle of the story didn't really work though.
2. Test Day. (8) Very funny tale of a Western teacher attempting to teach English in Tanzania. I enjoyed the recollections of frustration in teaching English. On a side note- teaching English has become a huge business in the last decade with many nations gouging themselves on the promise of wealth through knowledge of English. This has transformed the world, often causing cultures to devalue their own culture in order to embrace English and the hope of Western wealth. In many cases teaching English does more damage than good.
3. Monuments to Our Better Nature. (7) This is a short, concise essay describing some of the monuments found in Washington DC.
4.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was not as crazy about this as I was about the 2005 edition, but it still had a number of excellent pieces. Read morePublished on May 6, 2009 by T. Burrows
I love travel writing in all its incarnations. However, this anthology, while well written, is about as exciting as a roll of damp paper towels. Read morePublished on July 9, 2006 by K. A Delap
As with any compilation of anything, whether or not this volume truly represents the "best" of its chosen subject is a matter of fruitless dispute. Read morePublished on July 14, 2005 by doomsdayer520