Invoking Hunter S. Thompson is a risky proposition for young writers, who can be gulled into thinking that chemical intake and sketchy reporting are substitutes for the gonzo great’s keen insight and lacerating wit. Fortunately, although Kohnstamm plays the Thompson card on his first hand, documenting a monumental pub crawl with a coke buddy called “the Doctor,” he soon finds his own voice. Scratching a bite from the travel bug, Kohnstamm walks away from a Wall Street cubicle to accept a poorly paid, impossibly deadlined job updating the Lonely Planet guide to Brazil. Sharp writing and self-deprecating wit add spice to a chronicle of the sometimes absurd world of guidebook writing. (In one memorable scene, he gets thrown out of a hotel he is researching because he looks—accurately—too poor to stay there.) There’s food for thought, too, about Lonely Planet’s journey from backpacker tip sheet to faux-hobo itinerary and the aftereffects of the travel it promotes. Kohnstamm’s hedonism is heroic, but it’s his willingness to think about hedonism’s consequences that makes this worth reading. --Keir Graff
"A comic rogue who seems to have modeled his life and prose on Hunter S. Thompson’s… I could not get enough of the most depraved travel book of the year."
—The New York Times
—The New York Times Book Review
"the shot heard 'round the travel world…"
—The Washington Post
"A guidebook writer reveals the truth about his trade, in detail that will shock and awe."
"It’s Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, but with tourism"
—The New York Observer
"Kohnstamm is nobody's model travel journalist, except maybe Hunter Thompson's… [he’s the] sudden enfant terrible of his field… Do Travel Writers Go To Hell?
is the best-written, funniest book of travel literature since Phaic Tan."
—The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Sharp writing and self-deprecating wit add spice to a chronicle of the sometimes absurd world of guidebook writing."
"Readers will relish the countless stories of the author's misadventures, but Kohnstamm brings more than just anecdotes: He offers a solid understanding of the mechanics of the travel-writing industry and a unique ability to illuminate that world to readers. Notable for its spirited prose and insightful exploration of the less-romantic side of travel writing. Kohnstamm is one to watch."