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Travelers' Tales Central America: True Stories Paperback – March 12, 2002

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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$16.50 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Product Details

  • Series: Travelers' Tales Guides
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Travelers' Tales; First Edition edition (March 12, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1885211740
  • ISBN-13: 978-1885211743
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up in Minnesota in a family of seven children, all boys until the last one. After graduating from Dartmouth College I began to travel (I wished I'd been doing it while in college!) and found that writing about my experiences helped me understand the places and cultures I was encountering. I also discovered that newspaper and magazine editors responded as well, and that's how I got started working as a freelance writer. Not long after that I hooked up with James O'Reilly to write a series of mystery serials for the San Francisco Examiner, one of which ran for 104 episodes over five months. We then began writing travel stories together and in 1985 started a syndicated column, World Travel Watch, that has appeared in newspapers in five countries. In 1993 we founded Travelers' Tales with James's brother Tim O'Reilly, and since then we've published some 100 books. I teach workshops on the art and craft of the personal travel story on a regular basis: for information go to LarryHabegger.com.

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I am not a huge fan of anthologies of articles because they often lack the narrative flow and coherence of a book written by a single author. With that being said, Traveler's Tales Central America is a cut above the standard anthology for several reasons. First, the articles focus on a single, relatively small geographic region-Central America (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama). The narrow geography of Latin America bind the stories together much better than say, the stories in the Best American Travel Writing series, which cover all corners of the globe.

Second, many of the articles did not appear in mainstream travel magazines such as Conde Nast Traveler, Travel and Leisure, Budget Travel, etc. Instead, Larry Habegger and Natanya Pearlman, the book's editors, have gone out of the way to find some interesting pieces written by relatively obscure authors.

One of my favorites is a retired Pan Am pilot named Joseph Diedrich who writes about an encounter at a hotel with a beautiful woman who enjoys smuggling jaguars to the United States from Guatemala simply for the thrill of it. Another memorable one, "The Rainbow Special" by Cara Tabachnick, describes a hilarious gathering of hippies on the shores of Lago Atitlán in Guatemala where everyone finds spiritual truth in a simple bowl of hummus soup.

In addition to some obscure gems, Traveler's Tales Central America also includes pieces written by writers at the top of their game such as Tim Cahill and Paul Theroux. Cahill's essay about a drive in Honduras is ho hum, but Theroux's chronicle of a train ride through Costa Rica ranks as one of the best articles in the book, especially since the train he took no longer exists.
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