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Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Mr. Boorman and Mr. McGregor have written a fine companion piece to their documentary TV series (which I have not seen). Clearly ( in my case) the book stands alone as a delightful adventure read. Their descriptions of their adventure are quite vivid, particularly the sequences in Mongolia and Siberia.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2005
I picked up this book from the local library with an open mind, not really sure what to expect. I think this is the key in reading a new book - other reviewers here (-ve posters) may have specific expectations, and failed to accept it for what it is.

I did not expect this book to move me in tears, nor do I expect a manual on adventure riding (or how to become a millionaire). I was just curious about what these 2 actors did, how they did it, and some ideas of what they had to endure along the way.

I find this book easy to read, entertaining, and most of all, it has motivated me to ride a motorcycle again after 20+ years. I am enchanted by it, and may just take up long distance touring eventually.

I got what I needed out of it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 16, 2006
This is an interest book on the travels of two actors who do literally travel the world on BMW motorcylces with the aid of a support crew. The meat of the book is when they leave Europe and head through the Ukraine and Kazakhstan, but the book is most insteresting in Mongolia where the two adventurers are more descriptive of the people and write something of their lifestyle. The book virtually is an oral history of the trip rotated between the actors, you read what one has to say and then switch to the other. The beginning is slow since each man talks of his initial love of motorcylces , which includes how each almost killed themselves at some point. The book has great pictures of their travels, particularly in Mongolia and in Siberia and where a truck driver went off the road but seems happy just to sleep until help comes along the way. The draw back of the book is that each man relates more of their personal thoughts often as a diary and, as another writer stated, they spend a lot of verbage on being homesick throughout the trip. The book would have been better if they had the asssitance of a writer/explorer who could have been more descriptive of the places they experienced. A very challenging trip particularly when people ceased to recognize them. I give it four stars because the trip was such an accomplishment with seriou travel hardships in Mongolia and Siberia (river crossings, mud and rutted and soft roads). For hard core motorcycle riders, this may not be your book since both riders have some mechnical ability but it does not appear deep and their descriptions of repairs are limited, which I would think would have been most interesting for the hard corp rider. It is amazing that something awful did not happen to them in the wilds yet does in Canada when they meet a teenager in a Honda Civic. Not a bad tale but in this case, the movie (the trip was filmed) will probably be better than the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2010
I purchased this book after watching and enjoying the TV series I saw on DVD. I was concerned that the books would be redundant to the DVD, but it is really complementary to the series. The book highlights to a greater detail the emotions and friction between the team. It dwells upon the homesickness they felt and the interactions between the locals and the team. It contains information left out of the series and if you like the series, you'll no doubt enjoy this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2012
I'd heard about McGregor's and Boorman's around the world ride years ago, but only recently became interested in it after I started riding a motorcycle myself. I first attempted to watch the BBC TV series on it, but quickly stopped when I realized I could get much more detailed information on the trip by reading the book.

I was right, the book proved to be much more informative, and somehow lent a different tone to the whole trip. The footage in the TV series was edited in such a way as to make it almost seem like a buddy comedy, where McGregor and Boorman are laughing and joking with each other most of the time. This is entertaining, but not what I was looking for. The book on the other hand seems to have a much more serious tone, as so much more detail is filled in that the reader realizes the amount of work and suffering they went through before they had those light moments the TV series focuses on.

As a motorcyclist I was looking for more detail relating to the gear they used for the trip and the modifications made to the motorcycles. I realize too much of such information would make the book boring to the lay reader, so I guess what was included in the book was a good compromise.

I've read a few reviews where people complained this was a supported trip, and that McGregor and Boorman were a bit whiny. In their defense it seems the support vehicles were mostly there in case something went terrible wrong, and to carry camera equipment and spare tires. For the most part they were riding completely on their own. In fact the worst accident of the trip happened to one of the two support vehicles, a Mitsubishi truck that flipped over in the dreadful dirt roads. They later abandoned it and replaced it with a Russian van.

As far as them being whiny, I do agree, but I think any amateur in their situation would also whine, but just not have an audience to hear it. For having almost no experience doing long enduro rides I think they did extremely well.

Overall I thought this was a great read and a real page turner. The writing could've been better, but I think it was just a written adaption of the video commentary they did throughout the trip. Some of the same commentary is in the series and you can tell the wording is similar. However the book does include much more detail than the series, so I think it's worth the read.

As an aside, I was curious about their cameraman Claudio von Planta and found a very interesting interview with him (on zulkey.com). It seems he's filmed all over the world, including in very dangerous and extreme environments. It's no wonder the trip seemed like it was not much of a problem for him. [...]
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 12, 2006
I am one of the individuals who are a sucker for travel narratives. As much as I love to travel, there is very little likelihood that it will ever involve a motorbike journey around the world. Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman do just this and their tale is a delight.

While poring over a map of the world one day, McGregor noticed that a road ran through Europe to Russia and then Kazakhstan before moving on to Mongolia and back to the Russian Far East. He was hooked on an idea. This is clearly an option for a movie star. Time and money are less pressing. For the bulk of people the idea would remain just a dream.

McGregor and Boorman's journey is a joy. Sure, it may be self indulgent but so what! The journey is an experience and a pleasure to read. Don't expect a literary masterpiece but do expect to enjoy great vicarious adventures.

For most of us, the wilds of Kazakhstan and Mongolia are unknown. For those of us that live in western countries, having to live by your wits in a backwater is unthinkable. We all live such cosseted lives that so often involve little more adventure than commuting to work. Read this book just for the heck of it. You will be rewarded.
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on July 9, 2012
I've enjoyed both of the "Long Way" books. They're an enjoyable read even if they aren't great literature or exceptional travel writing. Ewan and Charley seem like two great guys and their humanity and down-to-earth natures really show in these stories. Some of the reviews here have been negative, with many of them criticizing the trip's supposed lack of purity in that Ewan and Charley had a support team and a few sponsors. Whatever. If you ask me, the support team was pretty thin, and it's clear that many times they were just winging it and improvising as they went along. This was emphatically not a Camel Trophy-type extraveganza, with flocks of accompanying helicopters, spare vehicles, and squads of mechanics standing by with truckloads of spare parts, and it certainly didn't appear to be a luxury trip by any stretch. Call it a compromise between a full-on expedition (complete with porters and truckloads of "essential equipment") and a threadbare by-the-seat-of-our-pants penniless slog taking many months or even years. Sure, in a perfect world you'd take two years to undergo such a journey, and thus provide yourself with plenty of time to see everything and get to know the people and cultures in great detail. But let's face it, 99.99 percent of us will never be able to pull that off, either due to: 1) family/career obligations; 2) a lack of time; 3) a lack of money; 4) a lack of balls; or 5) all of the above. That's just the way it is. But these guys went out and did it, however imperfectly. That's just fine in my book. Jolly good, blokes!
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on November 21, 2013
I wanted to hear the audio book version of their story from going around the world on 'motorbikes'.
I had recently seen the 7 hour version of their video series and wanted to hear if maybe more information would be on the Audio version as I wasn't familiar with the ride when it happened in 2004.
Overall it follows along with the video version pretty well with not too many aspects not covered in the TV series. The audio book is about 5 hours and I would have liked it better if either; 1. Ewan and Charley had voiced this version or 2. they had found different sounding readers. The person reading for Charley Boorman's sections sounded more like Ewan McGregor to me which got me mixed up on who was supposed to be talking at that point and the guy for Ewan's parts didn't sound like either of them! After while I did get used to it but I think it would have been better if they'd read it themselves. The 'extra' interview of Boorman was interesting also.
I still enjoyed hearing of their adventure as much as watching the video of their trip now almost 10 years ago! Their trips, this and "Long Way Down" to Africa started the "Adventure Bike" style that's still going strong.
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on January 23, 2014
I'm an avid out doorsman, and a motorcycle rider and a world traveler. This book combines all three interests and I'm astounded to say that I think I'd enjoy sitting around a camp fire with Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman. Most Hollywood types turn my stomach, but these guys seem rationale, down to earth and likely fun to be around. This is a story of a great adventure, and I purposefully choose the word "adventure." Its not just a travelogue, nor is it scripted journey, it's an adventure, with the uncertainty that word encompasses. I loved the documentary and I loved the book. Here is the story of two different personality types who are good friends who do amazing things. I am sure Ewan and Charlie will never cross paths with me, but if they did , I am sure I'd add them to my list of solid guys good to spend time with. Enjoy this book, it's truly an ADVNENTURE.
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on November 10, 2004
having started to read through what appeared to be at first a travelers note-book, I thought that the only thing I would get of it was the fact that Charley boorman was a far better writer to Ewan McGrecor, leave alone the fact that the things he wrote about riding a bike shown a man of deep knowledge-especially the part of cornering in roundabouts in South London.

However after the first 100 pages you get a much clearer picture of the relationship betwin the two men and I have to admit that I had at some points rushed some pages in order to read Ewan's point of view on an incident or the other way around.

One of a kind! Especially because it comes from simple guys and not hardcore biker
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