Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World Paperback – December 25, 2011
"Halsey Street" by Naima Coster
A modern-day story of family, loss, and renewal, Halsey Street captures the deeply human need to belong—not only to a place but to one another. | Learn more
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
- Item Weight : 1.66 pounds
- Paperback : 380 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1619492369
- ISBN-13 : 978-1619492363
- Dimensions : 8 x 0.86 x 10 inches
- Publisher : Empire Books (December 25, 2011)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,439,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Following the equator provides a glimpse into the challenges of world travel, and the perceptions of most western travelers regarding the rest of the world, circa the 1890s. While most readers are probably familiar with Twain's travel books through Europe, this lesser known work finds him traipsing through the Pacific. A world that not many of his even well traveled readers were familiar with in the 1890s.
Twain's musings regarding the Maori and other Pacific peoples are enlightening as well as entertaining; as is his general condemnation of western "civilization" in their dealings with many of the Pacific islanders.
Don't expect the lightheartedness of Tom Sawyer, nor the dark damnation of The Mysterious Stranger. It is somewhere in the middle, and well worth the read.
ABOUT THIS KINDLE EDITION: This review is on the free Kindle Edition. While the navigation had a few quirks, there is nothing about it that prevents you from a pleasurable reading experience. This book does not suffer from the gross mis-spellings and grammatical errors that many free Kindle versions are prone to.
In 1895 Twain was on a 'round the world lecture tour to pay off debts. The result of that tour is this book. This is Twain's account of that circumnavigation of the globe and his experiences in Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, India, and South Africa. As he arrives at each destination, he discusses the history, people, modes of travel, laws, and customs.
While steaming across the ocean, from country to country, Twain has opportunities to regale us with various anecdotes and stories. We really do get the feeling that we're sitting on deck with him as he launches into yet another interesting and humorous tale. These "intermissions on deck" from the actual trip are the high points of the book and the moments I most enjoyed.
Twain gives us some very detailed history of each destination. We also get an insight into the technology of the day. Remember, this is 1895, only five short years before the turn of the century. So, we learn that the telegraph is in wide use. Twain writes that connecting a telegraph wire from a remote area in Australia to one of it's major cities then connected that town with the entire world. In minutes, information could be sent from this remote Australian town to London and beyond. While steam ships and rail were the primary means of travel, we can't help but wonder that in ten short years, the automobile, flight, and wireless will forever change this world of 1895. So, in a way, it's one last look at an era about to pass away forever.
It's an enjoyable read. Remember, though, Mr. Twain is giving us an account of his year-long, around the world tour. This requires 69 chapters and just over 432 pages to recount the trip, and a commitment on the part of the reader to board ship with Twain for the entire voyage.
He takes long digressions into the history of each place he visits, and also into any tangent that crosses his mind. A lot of the writing seems more like the fragmentary preliminary notes for a book than like the finished, edited book itself. But if you can stick with it, his humor and his depreciating view of human nature are well worth the effort. This is not his best book, and certainly not his easiest, but it is still miles ahead of the other authors of his time.
Top reviews from other countries
What I found fascinating was his use of language; sometimes a bit flowery, but extremely descriptive of the places he visited and people he met. The volume is divided into a number of separate "books" and from the way that it is written, I would suggest that they were possibly constructed from diary or notes produced at the time, but then expanded and completed some time later.
Almost half of the work seems to revolve around Australia (which he regularly refers to as "Australasia") and New Zealand. He seems to have a great affection for the countries and has taken the chance to learn some of their history. Added to that is an extensive section on his travels in India, which he also taken time to learn more about. From his writing, you get a real sense of what he saw and his reactions to the different customs.
However, I would mark it down on some odd transcription errors and notes. I also found some of the poetry, added prose and quotations taken from other books a little unnecessary at times. I felt that the book could have been trimmed up quite a bit without losing the overall sense of things. It is a lengthy piece of work; it is also not something that most people would choose to read in a single sitting, but it is well worth the effort to read in smaller chunks.
I would suggest that this book will show you just how effective the written word can be.
“Following the Equator” (1897) is the work of an older, wiser, more thoughtful and philosophical Mark Twain and he has never written more beautiful prose; the chapters on India are priceless.
There is humour, of course, but he doesn’t go overboard, doesn’t exaggerate quite as wildly as he used to (but for those who like to be offended, there is still enough political incorrectness!).