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Istanbul: The Collected Traveler: An Inspired Companion Guide (Vintage Departures Original) Paperback – September 15, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Perfect for both the armchair traveler and those who want to get up and go." —Chicago Tribune

"
Part guidebook, part recipe book, part history book, part character study. A fat series of essays, interviews, critiques and travel tips, the collection is a delightful read from start to finish, mainly because the choices are so juicy. . . . Whether you're planning a trip or just visiting from the armchair, this is an engaging journey." —Denver Post
 
"Istanbul: The Collected Traveler unfolds before us a city so full of fun and adventure that to not want to explore is impossible. . . . [It] lets you fall in love with the history, but keeps you intrigued with recommendations for the present. If it’s your dream to get lost in the emotion and color of Istanbul, this book educates without making you feel like an outsider, with the hope that you will be just as much in love with the city as the people who call Istanbul home." —Bridal Guide Magazine’s Travel Blog

About the Author

Barrie Kerper, a former journalist and avid traveler, is the editor of eight previous books in the Collected Traveler series.
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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Departures Original
  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Original edition (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307390594
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307390592
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #356,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
Get it even if you just read a couple of chapters.
Jackal
I own other "collected traveler books by Barrie Kerper and enjoy them all.
Esteban Ess
I took this book along with me on my 3 week trip through Turkey.
sm4

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 49 people found the following review helpful By E. Dance on December 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
Istanbul -- The Collected Traveler, is unlike any book I've ever read. Most books, whether non-fiction or fiction, have minor characters. Not this one. Kerper has collected winning articles from a stable of thinkers and writers, each as brilliant, authoritative and uniquely knowledgeable about aspects of Turkey, in general, and Istanbul, in particular, as the next.

At first I found this unsettling. With all the heavy hitters sharing their favorite insights as well as the limelight, I felt adrift. I wanted someone - a main voice - to cling to. But that's because this is the first book of Kerper's I've read. What became clear is that there actually is a main narrator here, Kerper herself, but she keeps herself in the background, gently guiding instead of expounding.

The best way to absorb her book, I found, was by pretending I was going to a party with her, a party stuffed with luminaries, Turkish scholars and experts, all of whom she knew but I didn't. Then I let her introduce me to the brightest minds in the crowd - John Freely, Mary Cable, Annette Grossbongardt - who go on to teach me about all things Turkish.

Entrust yourself to Kerper's care because she knows what she's doing. She gives an education like none other - an education that will delight, inform and allow you to know what to look for when your airplane lands.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Catharine P. Taylor on December 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
This provides a traveler with the overview and background that don't print out with the plane ticket. It isn't the guide for those wanting to choose a hotel or a restaurant but for those who want to understand something of a city, a history, and a culture not their own. The choice of articles -- including some evocative older pieces -- makes you feel you are there, and the hints about customs and reading lists are immensely useful. This is a guide with which to travel, even from your armchair.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Himri VINE VOICE on July 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
Before reading this book, I didnt know much about Istanbul. But now nothing 'Istanbul' escapes me. What of the chef mentioned in the New Yorker? He is already talked of in the book. Musa Dagdeviren. What did Mark twain think of Istanbul in his 'The Innocents Abroad'. He will not go there again. What did Paul Therox see on his 'The Great Railway Bazaar' train? Such is the fascination that grows of a place, its people, their food, origins, their monuments, streets and daily life.

Most places are not this old to have such a long history to know of. So how much ever I may wish to know of all places to the extent covered in this book, might not be possible.

It takes a curator, a gardener, journalists, writers, reporters, cook book authors, an Egyptologist, a tour guide and many more to bring the far away land to life.

The list and notes of related books is extensive.

I have seen TV ads of hamam as a kid. But now I know of the bath house tradition.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jackal on July 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a remarkable travel book. It is aimed at cultural travelers interested in (1) monuments and sights and (2) food. Most guide books are quite boring to read (at least for me). This book, however, has an editor that really has forced the contributors to add value; partly newly written texts and partly old texts that the editor really likes. I have to say that this format works excellently. Probably thanks to the editor also knows Istanbul very well. The writing draws you into really wanting to see the different sights of Istanbul. You learn by reading but you also develop an urge to actually see the sights described. Actually I would go as far as to say that the Topkapi and Hagia Sophia are boring to visit unless you first read the book. Many old fogey would lament that the wonderful Istanbul of yesteryear is gone. This is probably true and it helps to read this book.

The book also has some discussion about food and specific restaurants are mentioned. I don't know to what extent these chapters have been written by experts as opposed to just the editor's friends.

The book is not without weakness. It these actually are weaknesses depends fully on what you are looking for:
- Sometimes it feels like edited by a dilettantish, provincial outsider. It is clearly not written by a Turk, but maybe that is an advantage. It has a yesteryear kind of feel. Like it was written before the era of mass tourism (and many chapters in the book were).
- If you're looking for modern history or what young or professional Istanbullers do and think this is absolutely not the book for you.
- In addition to this book you will need a traditional guidebook with maps, opening hours, etc. I don't have one to recommend.
Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By 1FunMom on September 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
It took me awhile to catch my interest - I guess because for me, the first few pages were the least compelling, and it took forever to get past them. But once I skipped over those pages, I quickly came to appreciate this collection of articles, interviews and book excerpts. A joy to read before an upcoming return trip to Turkey. Really, it comes down to Kerper sharing everything I could only dream someone would collect for me, covering subjects ranging from history, art, monuments & architecture, recipes, restaurant and book reviews, and other people's experiences living, working or traveling in Turkey - accompanied by her own commentary. So, here's the dream come true.

The only thing lacking is visual imagery. Most spaces void of text are oddly filled with images of airline tickets, repetitive simple decorative line drawings, or photos which do not correlate with the text. More often than not, she missed opportunities to include related photos which would take the book to 5 stars for me. Nonetheless, I still love this book.
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