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Slow Boats Home Paperback – July 20, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 462 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber (July 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571251048
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571251049
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,117,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gavin Young (1929-2001) was a journalist, writer, and briefly a member of MI6. As a journalist, he was most associated with the Observer, being in the words of Mark Frankland's obituary 'a star foreign correspondent'. When disenchantment with journalism set in he turned to the writing of books. The two most famous ones are Slow Boats to China and its sequel Slow Boats Home. He himself had a particular affection for two later books In Search of Conrad (winner of the Thomas Cook Book Award) and A Wavering Grace. These and Beyond Lion Rock, From Sea to Shining Sea, Return to the Marshes and Worlds Apart are all being reissued in Faber Finds.

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Martin Kendal-Reed on May 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Gavin Young is a remarkable writer who has the ability to place you inside his field of perception as he describes his travels. Even so, his highly personal style is never intrusive and reminds one of George Orwell's essays. Slow Boats Home takes us once again into that almost vanished world of tramp steamers, island-hopping in small boats and a multitude of brief glimpses at other people's lives seen by this quintessential observer of life. Young's obvious sympathy for those he encounters, sometimes during dark phases of their life, makes it clear that he has a firm belief in the fundamental humanity of people everywhere. Nonetheless, he has no patience for the crude, the imperialist and often frankly racist attitudes he often encounters. Young is offering a silent plea to slow down the pace of modern development in favor of respect for indigenous cultures and languages. We can only hope that this plea, so eloquently phrased in this wonderful book, is heeded before it is too late to preserve local cultural variety.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Peterson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the sequel to "Slow Boats to China". In that book, British journalist Gavin Young wrote about a leisurely trip by sea, hopping from vessel to vessel, from Europe to China. In my review of it, I called "Slow Boats to China" a minor classic of travel literature. SLOW BOATS HOME is not quite as fine as its predecessor, but it still is a charming and very companionable book. In it, Young writes about the trip he took by sea (mostly) in 1982 from China to England. After a side trip to Shanghai, he sailed from Hong Kong, through Melanesia and Polynesia, across the Pacific to Chile, down to "the end of the earth" (Cape Horn Island), and then (after flying across the Atlantic due to disruptions in sea traffic occasioned by the Falklands War) from Cape Town, South Africa to Plymouth, England. By my count, Young sailed on a total of eighteen vessels, most of them cargo ships of various sizes.

Three features of SLOW BOATS HOME stand out. First, Young integrates into his tale apt and engaging writings from earlier literary travelers, such as Joseph Conrad, Robert Louis Stevenson (whose house Vailima and grave in Western Samoa he visits), Somerset Maugham, Herman Melville (inspired by his visit to the valley of Typee), and Charles Darwin. Second, the book has more than its fair share of anecdotes and commentary relating to the places visited. Of particular interest in this regard, Young reports and reflects on the differing fates of the indigenous peoples he encounters across the Pacific - from Papuans, to Tongans, to Fijians, to Samoans, to Marquesans (who now exist in "pure" form only in the paintings of Paul Gaugin).
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