Always adventurous, Feynman was also a careful planner, recounts his friend and fellow drummer Ralph Leighton in this affectionate memoir. When a chance remark happened to dislodge a long-dormant memory of a faraway Siberian land called Tannu-Tuva, Feynman and Leighton set about scheming to get there--a program that included learning the little-described Tuvan language, picking up the rudiments of throat singing, and reading the scattered, hard-to-find literature concerning a place that, in Feynman's fond view, was as close to paradise as the earth contained. It also involved corresponding with scholars in what was still the Soviet Union and wrangling with bureaucrats to secure the necessary papers--all for the sake of seeing a country that had to be interesting, Feynman insisted, just because its capital, Kyzyl, had such an odd spelling.
These picaresque armchair adventures make up the bulk of Tuva or Bust, an unconventional mix of travelogue and scientific biography that's a pleasure to read at every turn. The book yields a memorable picture of Richard Feynman--who did not live to see Tuva, but whose memory is honored there today, thanks to Leighton's refusal to abandon their shared dream. --Gregory McNamee
For me, reading the book was only a beginning.
There was a great interview with Ralph Leighton, Feynman's friend, and Feynman himself who became rather obessed with getting to Tuva.
Almost any foreign language would sound ridiculous if translated word for word with no corrections for grammar or word order.
If you have never read anything by Richard Feynman (or don't even know who he was), with help from Ralph Leighton, you have missed something wonderful. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Dee Phelps
This is a great book about one of the greatest American scientists of the 20th century. It has alot of information about cold war era issues surrounding the adventures of Mr. Read morePublished 14 months ago by jtmedley21
Well written chronicle about quest to travel to Tuva. Incredible attention to detail provided by the author. Told in a factual and humorous manner.Published 14 months ago by Richard Sherman
This book feels very outdated and with only one immediate purpose, to stroke the ego of Richard Feynman. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Paul Pressler
I saw Richard Feynman in the program: " Tannu Tuva or Bust" quite some time ago. So, when I came across this book, I had to have it, and like the show, it did not dissapoint... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Petergrasso
Before the internet, before Google, before Amazon we had the Sears & Roebuck catalog, the Encyclopedia Britannica, public libraries. Read morePublished on January 14, 2012 by Vincent Poirier
I think 'Surely You're Joking...' and 'What do you Care...' are the best biographical books on Feynman. Read morePublished on September 25, 2010 by Phil A.