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Exploring New Europe: A Bicycle Journey Paperback – January 10, 2017
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About the Author
Barry D. Wood is a writer and broadcaster in Washington, DC. He is the international economics correspondent for RTHK radio in Hong Kong, and contributes to marketwatch.com, USA Today, and biznews.com in South Africa. His first overseas travel was a five-month stint in 1963 as a deck boy on the Swedish freighter Parrakoola from San Francisco to Australia. Later he worked on Norwegian and Dutch passenger liners. For over two decades Barry was the chief economics correspondent at Voice of America, during which time he reported from more than 60 countries. He comes from Grand rapids, Michigan and has B.A. and M.A. degrees in economics from Western Michigan University, with short-term study at Oxford and in Yugoslavia. His website is www.econbarry.com.
Top customer reviews
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Most days the author journeyed between 45 and 50 miles, starting around 10 AM and finishing around 6 PM. This is a leisurely pace, and it’s inspiring to see how much of the world one can travel by bicycle. I personally appreciated the author’s use of almost no reservations in his travel — while AirBNB has changed this somewhat, the greatest adventures are the one’s you can’t find on google before hand.
Plus, the author released a youtube “trailer” for the book, which captures the spirit well and you can view on his blog.
This book was published after the recent elections, yet it feels out of time. It reminds me of the celebrations of globalization I read in the 1990s and 2000s, like Tom Friedman’s The Lexus and the Olive Tree (1999) and The World is Flat (2005). Long ago a called Friedman a genius, but Friedman and his followers have not transitioned to the post-crash world. There’s a breezy attitude toward “risk” that ignores optionality. Beyond “self-confidence” or “vision,” anyone whose experienced an old Empire crumble would be rationally nervous about the future of a new Empire
"I’m sure [he] would have moved ahead if he owned by B&B. He would have gotten the needed permits and bank loans for development. [The actual owner], by contract, was just holding on. He didn’t have self-confidence or vision."
Likewise, the Euro-optimism doesn’t take into effect that the European dream is dying in the west, where Britain is soon leaving the Union, and the cause of dying in the East, and the War in the Donbas drags on
"Some of the countries I crossed — Serbia, Macedonia, Albania — are still knocking on the door, and Kaliningrad as part of Russia is a special case. Make no mistake, the European dream is still alive."
I enjoy bicycling and liked this book of biking adventures. It was breezy to read and balanced discussing the countries with the authors own thoughts and some details on the biking. But it doesn’t match the current concerns of Europe, or even the feel of this period of globalization (if the world is still globalizing).
Few, if any of us have what it takes to ride a bicycle alone across remote parts of Eastern Europe. Without the fearful uncertainies and the physical hardship we can ride along on Barry's adventure. Be prepared to be touched by the people he'll meet along the path and learn from a skilled educator the historic significance of this long hidden region.
The undertaking, of riding a bicycle over 2500 miles across the many and varied terrains, avoiding highways and in some instances the dangers of inexperienced drivers, is one I can only marvel at. Add to that the experiences of staying in run down, bug infested hotels, guest houses and hostels along the way, and sometimes wondering whether you might even make it to the next village or town on the route, this book allows the reader to fully experience the journey from the luxury of their armchair.
Most recent customer reviews
Thank You Barry!