From Publishers Weekly
Travel writer MacLean (Stalin's Nose, Falling for Icarus) retraces the infamous hippie trail trod by fun seekers, drug seekers and seekers of fulfillment and enlightenment in the 1960s and '70s, when Afghanistan was unknown except maybe to readers of Kipling, the Shah ruled Iran and the Khyber Pass was, well, passable. Dubbing these travelers "The Intrepids", MacLean tracks the history of the trail. Starting out in Istanbul, MacLean meets Penny, one of the original travelers, who, pushing seventy, is still floating about the east in beads and feathers, spewing memories of her sex life and speaking of karma. MacLean does a fine job finding journalists and local people who remember the hippies and their impact on both the economy and the sensibility of the places they passed through. His sometimes romantic vision of the seekers aside, MacLean makes a sincere effort to understand why the trip was so seductive and important historically. Interactions with people along the way and his references to the music of the trail are delightful, and while the writing can seem overly sentimental in the early pages, MacLean hits his stride quickly; making his way through dangerous and hostile Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan brings out his finest writing. Travelers of all kinds, including the armchair variety, will relish the work and love MacLean has put into his latest.
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Utterly absorbing; if you read only one travel book this year, this should be it -- Alexander Frater, author of Chasing the Monsoon A disturbing, gripping and intensely passionate story Esther Freud Rory MacLean is one of the most strikingly original and talented travel writers of his generation -- Katie Hickman, author of Courtesans
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