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101. The Cruise of the Snark
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102. Jun Q'anil: One Who Walks The
$13.57 $13.26 list($19.95)
103. A Rage to Live: A Biography of
104. Amazing Traveler Isabella Bird:
105. Letters to Henrietta
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106. Margaret Mee's Amazon: Diaries
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107. Southern Exposure: A Solo Sea
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108. Rowing to Latitude: Journeys Along
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109. Hello, Aibek: A Journey of International
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110. Helen of Tus: Her Odyssey from
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111. Remembering Ahanagran: A History
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112. A Way to See the World: From Texas
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113. Green Suede Shoes : An Irish-American
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114. David Roberts: Travels in Egypt
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115. The Adventures of Ibn Battuta:
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116. Brother in the Bush : An African
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117. Castaway in Paradise: The Incredible
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118. Living With the Dead: Twenty Years
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119. Enduring Patagonia
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120. A Castle in the Backyard: The

101. The Cruise of the Snark
by Jack London
list price: $9.95
our price: $9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0486412482
Catlog: Book (2000-08-01)
Publisher: Dover Publications
Sales Rank: 80942
Average Customer Review: 3.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This captivating tale of true adventures at sea takes readers aboard a 55-foot ketch whose small and intrepid crew crossed the Pacific in 1906. Master storyteller Jack London recounts with wry good humor the hardships of a two-year voyage aboard a diminutive and leaky craft. His vital, colorful narrative transcends stormy seas, illness, and navigational doubt for breathtaking accounts of the natural beauties of the South Pacific and warm praise for local hospitality. Enhanced with 119 original photographs, this lively account offers one of literature’s best accounts of a sea voyage in a small boat.
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Reviews (3)

1-0 out of 5 stars Stand in a shower tearing up 100 dollar bills instead
I've recently arrived back in the USA from Suva and Nadi in Fiji, one of Jack's stopping points.

However, what he describes about the South Pacific is no more.

London's South Pacific was affected by European trade and commerce. For one thing, disease, in an era when its prevention was primitive, was rife and the inhabitants of the islands he visited were dropping like flies. Today, of course, the very same network has brought modern medicine and the major health threat to natives in the South Pacific is obesity: the only restaurant on Victoria Parade in Suva, allowed Sunday hours, was McDonald's, while Singh's Curry Shop had to close (I recommend the latter, around the corner from McDonald's on Gordon Street: try the goat curry).

London's natives were partly pagan. Today, ordinary people in Oceania are mostly fundamentalist Christian, and, in Suva, there is also a streak of Islam, petering out far to the west of Indonesia but echoing in the afternoon call of the Muezzin in Suva.

The fundamentalism means that the yachtsman is well-advised on shore to dress modestly. Of course, London and his wife did this naturally, long ago. I actually saw an Australian man warn a woman in shorts in Suva to put knickers on lest one of the local Methodists or Moslems be offended.

But any myth of escape has been so commodified in the South Pacific by tavern owners and tourist companies as to be sour and bitter to the taste.

London, while asserting his property rights thoughtlessly at Oakland's wharf, and while assuming he had the right to hire men to work on his boat and judge their hard work in print, also assumed, in the South Pacific, his right to wander at will.

Today, as the Rough Guide to Fiji advises the tourist, 85% of the land in Fiji is owned fee simple by chiefs. Sir Arthur Gordon decided not to repeat America's dispossession of the Indians and covenanted with the lads in Fiji in such a way that today, the natives form a land-owning aristocracy.

Their fair-mindedness (as on display from Steve Rabuka who backed down from being a military dictator) means that other lads from other mobs have rough civic equality.

London was the prototype, however, of the colonialist as rugged individual whose humanity is based on the unconscious deprivation of others' humanity.

London was the prototype of the soured Yank who when a lad thought the best of people, without a dime to his name, who now has everything, and thinks the worst of people.

London with a grin repeats texts from the hundreds of letters he received from individuals who wanted to sign on to the Snark and so escape their own lives of quiet desparation in an America already unbearable for the average city-dweller. Like him they yearned for a clean-limbed life but unlike London they lacked cash.

London essentially uses their texts to pad out a book that was obviously written not from the heart but to raise cash for a silly boat.

Any yachtsman knows in his heart of hearts that if the landlubber wants his experience, he has only to stand in a cold shower tearing up 100 dollar bills. The Snark was an expensive lark and, like modern yachts, unconsciously offensive at both its sharp end (where were the natives, giving London gifts and dying like flies) and its blunt end (where were the American laborers whose work London disrespects because it was not finished on his schedule).

The South Seas are overrun, today, by people who really ought to be paying more taxes back home. I traveled out there to work at global rates and learned much more about the REAL South Seas than any tourist might, and I'm afraid that Joe Conrad, who also worked for a living, in The Heart of Darkness is more reliable on the tropics than old Jack London.

I'm afraid that London saw, what he wanted to see: the Gilded Age struggle of man against man. However, as Hannah Arendt points out in The Origins of Totalitarianism, this defines rather a culture of hatred out of which were form racialist identities. London was for the most part free of any special form of racism but he did believe that Socialism was impossible because Alpha males (like Wolf Larsen) would take what they need.

Well, they might, and they do. Nonetheless, in the South Seas and elsewhere, Beta males and women continue some how to achieve more, and of more lasting value, by working in groups. Sir Arthur Gordon is forgotten save in Suva, because unlike Cecil Rhodes he failed to mind his own press-agentry but it appears he did lasting good with his land-tenure scheme.

London never learned the limits of his world view and his darkest book, Alcoholic Memories, is a testament to London's limitations.

My favorite yachtsman remains good old Tristan Jones, a British sailor who was trained in the Royal Navy and who paid his dues. Tristan would like me arrive back, from the back of beyond, without a dime and go willingly to work while living willingly in a doss-house. Tristan dragged his own boat across the Mato Grosso and talked back to tinpot Fascists in Stroessner's Paraguay.

In my experience it is relatively easy to learn the mechanics of a sailing boat but what is hard is endurance, not only of Nature but the Other. London endured Nature but has a tendency to be impatient in print with others, as shown by his insenstive near-mockery of applicants for service on his boat. Jones, on the other hand, mocks only people who deserve it, like customs agents in Paraguay.

We lack Tristan Jones' spirit in America with the result that the Third World is overrun with the worst of us, whining yachtsmen and CIA agents and their trophy wives. London I fear was despite his genuine greatness of soul a prototype for the worse that came later.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read it in Hawaii!
If you are travelling to Hawaii or any Polynesian destination, then make this book one of your companions. London makes you feel like you are on the boat with him as he takes you from the docks of San Fransisco, to the Hawaiin Isles, to Tahiti and beyond. With tremendous humility and wit London portrays his journey through the South Seas brilliantly, ultimately concluding that attempting to live out a dream can become a nightmarish reality.

5-0 out of 5 stars a ninety year-old book that could be written yesterday
The Cruise of the Snark relays the saga of Jack London's construction, and two-year voyage in a 45-foot sailing ketch from San Francisco to Hawaii, the Marquesas, Tahiti, and the head-hunting Solomon islands.

His difficulties in getting the boat built after the 1906 San Fran earthquake are hilarious as he describes the assaults of his contractors and creditors during the construction.

After they finally launch the voyage six months late, they manage to find Hawaii through sheer luck, where Jack and his plucky wife, Charmain, learn to surf (remember this is 1907!), visit the leper colony at Molokai and the "House of the Sun" volcanic crater on Maui.

Then comes the "impossible traverse" to the Marquesas, which they didn't realize couldn't be done until a week after they'd begun. Continuing on to Tahiti and the savage Solomon islands, Jack and his determined "Snarkites" encounter natives, tribal chieftains, missionaries, and overcome their problems with incredible persistence and naivete as only some of the first white people to enter these areas could possess.

Incidentally, the "cook" on this voyage was the famous photographer and world explorer Martin Johnson who was picked to go on his very first adventure by a letter to Jack advertising his thirst for travel. With his wife Osa, he would years later revisit the Solomons for the purpose of photographing cannibalism before embarking on their epic photographic safaris in Africa and Borneo. Jack only mentions Martin in passing during "the Cruise", perhaps sensing some literary and photographic competition that he would encounter later.

This book is a great shelf companion to Martin's "Through the South Seas with Jack London", upon which he began his great series of travel books. "The Cruise" gives Jack's viewpoint as the sponsor of the trip, and an established literary giant. Whereas Martin's opinions on the racial makeup of the islanders are quite bigoted and reflect the prevailing views of the turn of the century, Jack is more open-minded, and willing to point out the failings of the white race in adapting to these island paradises.

"The Cruise" is a great non-fiction book, among few others by London such as "the Abyss" that tell of his adventures and opinions first-hand as they happen. It truly captures his sarcastic yet hopeful perspective of himself and the whole concept of adventure. ... Read more

102. Jun Q'anil: One Who Walks The Way
by Jessica Nagler
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1879384604
Catlog: Book (2005-01-15)
Publisher: Cypress House
Sales Rank: 345213
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Enthralling Trip

Spiritually uplifting books can leave a reader depressed.

So many spiritual journey travelogues are filled with standard clichés of a lost soul searching and suddenly finding "The Answer." Yet, one author's epiphany is another reader's emptiness.

But what happens when the big moment, the prophetic revelation of the journey, calls into question the journey itself? What happens when the seeker realizes the truth might have always been in the mirror the entire time? Only then does the reader feel a deeper connection with the author and the odyssey, realizing whether at home or abroad, there are no easy answers.

Jun Q'anil: One Who Walks the Way is a riveting, majestic and deeply profound new auto-bio trip from Jessica Nagler. This former thriving Los Angeles psychotherapist chooses to leave behind a fiancé, family and finances in hopes of losing and finding herself among the people and places of Central America.

Jun Q'anil (a Mayan term given to the author by a shaman priest that means, "One who walks the way") is not a typical yogi treatise on the ways and means of the universe, but instead a story for Everyman of every faith - or none at all - who struggles with the larger questions of connection and reason for the disorder of things.

The writing brilliantly shifts moods to match the situations. Nagler's first stop at Samadhi fills her with doubt, disease and depression. The curt, claustrophobic sentence structure fills the reader with similar anxiety and dread. Yet, by the time Nagler has acclimated, acquiesced and given herself to the idea of the journey, the writing suddenly opens up and the rain of wealthy experiences and exchanges wash lavishly across the pages. As the author delves deeper into her own consciousness, the tactile sensations of the sun's heat, the sky's pallor and the air's sweetness become more acute and symbolic of her emerging connection to the planet.

The stories in different colorful cities move at brisk clips, so as to take snapshots of interesting characters and assemble them like a puzzle. The synchronicity of the pieces thus form the fabric of the narrative and ultimately of the author's true purpose. Jun Q'anil is On The Road for spiritual beatniks.

There's the large green and yellow bird in Tamarindo that literally attaches itself to Nagler's leg and will not let go until silently communicating her next destination; there's captivating Chloe who shares a vibrant, spiritual awakening with Nagler in Hacienda Del Sol that may or may not be the specter of a real UFO; there's bawdy Fransisco who nearly kills Nagler while teaching her to surf off a remote tip of Costa Rica; and finally there's Joselo, the colorful mountaintop Mayan shaman priest so transcendent, he performs magical ceremonies with raw eggs and red beans, yet so contemporary he loves prime-time television and large glasses of Coke. With Joselo, Nagler arrives at the apex of her journey in Guatemala and must decide whether her true calling is life as a Mayan priestess (the ultimate New Age epiphany) or life as something else.

The decision spurs a fascinating climax as the awakenings of the jungles meet head-on with an inevitable return to the spiritual congestion of LA. Like Billy Crystal's character in City Slickers who returns to New York from his revelatory cattle ride with a calf he delivered, Nagler must now re-emerge into a soulless society with an enlightened self.

As the author wonders whether we choose the path or vice versa, the brilliance of the nurturing narrative is that it never suggests we should feel any specific spirituality other than that which lies within.

So, light a candle, steep some tea and let this intense, magical story spirit you away. Chances are in the morning, the sun will be a little brighter, the birds slightly more clamorous, the air far sweeter and the world a more connected place.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!
This is a beautifully written account of one woman's transformation from lost to found.Jessica Nagler's willingness and courage to stand exposed in front of her readers is a gift to us all.For everyone out there who is on their own path this is a must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars TREASURE HUNT
Wow!This book was a treasure hunt.I loved every minute of searching for the meaning of the title, the outcome of the next dangerous adventure, and what the ending would look like.I came to understand that the most dangerous adventure of all was within the author herself.5 stars is not enough!

5-0 out of 5 stars FOLLOWING A DREAM
A riveting story of one's personal journey. I'ts about listening to your heart, and reading life's signs. From the very beginning, I was taken with Ms. Nagler's spirit and courage on the path she set out to attain. This book speaks to the challenges she overcomes that transform her life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Held Hostage
Jun Q'anil: One Who Walks the Way captured me and held me hostage until I finished it!I couldn't put it down.What an adventure! Ms. Nagler's description of the journey was vivid and full of fascinating characters....and I so admire her courage.I wish her great success with this book and will tell all my friends to get it. ... Read more

103. A Rage to Live: A Biography of Richard and Isabel Burton
by Mary S. Lovell
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393320391
Catlog: Book (2000-08)
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 339653
Average Customer Review: 4.07 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An "extraordinary biography" (New York Times Book Review) of a brilliant pair of adventurers. Their marriage was both improbable and inevitable. Isabel Arundell was a schoolgirl, the scion of England's most distinguished Catholic family. When she first saw him while walking at a seaside resort, Richard Burton had already made his mark as a linguist (he was fluent in twenty-nine languages), scholar, soldier, and explorer--at once a symbol of Victorian England's vision of empire and an avowed rebel against its mores. When she turned and saw him staring after her, she decided that she would marry him. By their next meeting, Burton had become the first infidel to infiltrate Mecca as one of the faithful, and, in an expedition to discover the source of the Nile, would soon be the first white man to see Lake Tanganyika. After being married, the Burtons traveled and experienced the world, from diplomatic postings in Brazil and Africa to hair-raising adventures in the Syrian desert. In later life Richard courted further controversy as a self-proclaimed erotologist and the translator of The Kama Sutra. Based on previously unavailable archives, Mary Lovell has written a compelling joint biography that sets Isabel in her proper place as Burton's equal in daring and endurance, a fascinating figure in her own right. ... Read more

Reviews (15)

3-0 out of 5 stars A Rage to Write
I want to give this book 4 stars, I truly do. Having read Lovell's truly stunning biography of Beryl Markham, I looked forward to this one. While the Markham biography, Straight on Till Morning is fresh, fascinating and fast-moving, this dual biography was in desperate need of an editor courageous enough to tell the writer half the text needed to go.

Having said that, however, I want immediately to add that once I got past the first few chapters, I DID get caught up on the utterly fabulous tale of Richard Burton's amazing life. Quite simply, there is no one in our world with whom to compare him. The redeeming value of Lovell's far too detailed description of his life is that -- at the end of the book -- you feel as if you have travelled with him.

Isabel is amazing in so many ways, but unfortunately, while Lovell goes to lengths extraordinaire to exclaim about Richard, she fails to point out just how truly remarkable and ahead of her time was Isabel.

The author is clearly enamored of the two of them and goes to great lengths to try to de-bunk the conclusions of other Burton scholars. Unfortunately, after a while her defenses become tiresome. Enough already. Enough and more than enough writing.

This is yet another example of what happens when the publishing world decides that editors are redundant. Had this mss been given the editing it deserved it could have been one of the great biographies of the past 10 years.

5-0 out of 5 stars An astonishing life, definitely a keeper
I have very much enjoyed Lovell's previous biographys (on Jane Digby and on the Mitford family) firstly because she goes all out to uncover new material, secondly because of her meticulous detailing of all sources - especially when going against the traditional view of previous writers, and lastly because I think she makes her subjects real and therefore an incredibly good read. She certainly does that with the Burtons - necessarily so because both Isabel and Richard Burton led full and active lives (it seems almost to be underselling the incredibly contributions they made to Victorian society) and the 700 odd pages which Lovell uses to talk about them barely seems enough.

Having read the other reader reviews on this book I was struck by one person opining that there wasn't enough discussion on Burton's books in here. I would say that there is enough. This is a biography and it covers an awful lot of ground. Each of Burton's books was about his travel, and each trip is minutely detailed in which Lovell uses not just his books, but his notes, his letters, and other sources to track not just his trips, but the dynamics of his relationships with others. I also think it is fair to say that Lovell has talked about the impact his books made on society - certainly many of his books are still in print and in some cases are still used as text books in modern Eastern study as they are still considered relevant.

Both the Burton's come alive under Lovell's pen. Isabel's intense love for Burton - and his for her. Lovell is careful in discussing each of Burton's controversies in life such as his falling out with Speke, and his inability to seem to get on with other men (Rigby, Playfair, the Ambassador while as Consul in Damascus and so on). Again these petty political battles are carefully detailed and the entire growth of each situation shown. Lovell demonstrates how many of Burton's strengths were also his greatest failings. He had a huge intellect, great intellegence but little patience and diplomacy to follow his calling in the Foreign Office. His energy was generally spent on his exploring in which he was ably supported and often accompanied by his wife, Isabel. Certainly with as many enemies as Burton managed to make, coupled with his ironic sense of humour he managed to leave behind a mythology of a rather horrid nature what he did and didn't do. He was fond of telling self-deprecating stories to people - at the expense of his reputation. Lovell has sifted through these rumours and misinformation to find the real man and his exploits underneath. These are no less amazing only less voilent.

Burton was a scholar and a linguist of some note. While in India he learnt a number of the major dialects and would have been officially noted as the foremost scholar in the field had not professional jealousies prevented him from being credited with his last language exams. Certainly he passed top in his class in each of his exams. He opened up inner Africa for future European explorers making it possible for them to confirm the source of the Nile, he also was the first European to make the Haj as a disguised as a muslim - and these are just a few of the explorations he undertook.

I think Isabel comes off a lot better under Lovell's pen than I have read about her before. She has also suffered a great deal of bad press in the past - again her own deeds are obfuscated by rumour and dislike. She was not the most likeable woman in the world, but in conclusion I did feel she was the only woman who could have matched Burton, especially in that stultifying conventional world which Victorian England limited their women to inhabiting.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a long read - hard to do with a young baby handing around - but each chapter was almost like a new story. Lovell was excellent in tying each chapter in the Burton's life together into a fresh story - a fresh outlook on the Burton's altogether a satisfying read.

4-0 out of 5 stars The final word? No. Illuminating? Definitely.
Author Lovell clearly wants to refurbish Isabel Burton's image, and she has done so. In doing so, Lovell does not appear to have let the desire to attain that goal outrun the evidence at hand. Indeed, Lovell provides the reader with a considerable body of previously unknown and/or unused material which supports her contention that Isabel Burton---long branded as some sort of religion-filled and -frenzied lunatic---was of a piece with many other Victorian women who actually helped their husband's careers immeasurably. (Consider, for example, Elizabeth Custer, wife of George Armstrong Custer.) This book is not the end-all-be-all for those interested in Richard Burton, however, for there is actually very little in the way of detail about his travels and experiences. This makes sense when the narrative hits areas Burton himself purposely left blank (his Indian years, forinstance). But this approach makes for problems in areas Burton purposely highlighted. I enjoyed the book as a book, and found Lovell a stylish writer who alerts her readers to her own biases (always welcome in a historian). But for those who have read about Burton before this could---stress on "could"---be an oddly unsatisfying piece of work. For those who come to the subject fresh, or wish to round out their understandings about this intriguing couple (hence the "could" caveat above), this is a wonderful book. It is, after all, not all about Richard (although Richard might've thought so; yet even here, Lovell makes him a good deal more rounded in his sensibilities and sensitivities than many who've earlier given him a go ). The book is about a couple, and within those parameters it is a solid and fascinating volume.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best so far -- but PLEASE . . . (!)
(1) This is the definitive biography to date of the incredible Sir Richard and Lady Burton. No question about it.

(2) The author provides a significant amount of never-before-published information and reveals the existence of yet more --- which encourages us to think that Burton scholarship is entering a Golden Age.

(3) The author deserves a lot of credit in many different respects.

(4) What is crazy-making, therefore, is how appallingly slipshod the editing and proofreading was for this book. I gave up counting the typographical, factual, and stylistic mistakes.

(5) The editors and proofreaders of this book should be drummed out of the business. It's an absolute disgrace.

(6) 5 stars for the book anyway . . .

3-0 out of 5 stars Don't Get Too Close to Your Subject
This book should be read by all biographers as a warning as to what happens when an author becomes to close to their subject. Richard Burton is a fascinating man and his exploits in India, Africa, South America, and the Middle East are truly epic in some cases. His wife Isabel loved her husband, there can be no doubt. But author Lovell blunts every criticism lodged against the couple, and portays those who critize them as petty and vindictive.

For example, Burton travels through Africa with a fellow Englishman, Speke. Both men are terribly ill throughout this trek which seems to be comprised of these two being dragged through the interior of Africa by their porters. Speke regains his health somewhat to make a side trip which discovers a large lake in the interior of the country. Once they return, Speke tries to take credit for the success of the trip and Burton becomes almost an outcast because of some issues over payment of the porters. While Burton never returns to Africa, Speke makes another journey and discovers Lake Victoria which will be determined as one of the main sources of the Nile. However, Lovell points out that Speke could not prove this at the time. Speke is portrayed almost as a cruel and vindictive man, who rages against Burton for no apparent reason.

Later in his life, Burton works for the Foreign Office and becomes a consul at posts in Africa, Middle East, South America and Europe. He never seems to actually do anything besides use these jobs as a convenient way to pay his bills. He requests an inordinate amount of sick leave and then uses this time to journey to such places as Iceland to check on mining possibilities. Yet the author insist that Burton was unfairly treated by the Foreign Office.

On the subject of Isabel Burton, the author goes to extremes. It seems as if other biographers have been very critical of Isabel and her determination to nag to death everyone she knows for the sake of her husband's job promotions and in addition, she burns a manuscript at the time of his death which she considered pornographic. The author makes every excuse for Isabel and defends her as working on the orders of her husband.

Overall, it seemed like the author became so entranced with both characters that she could not abide to write anything critical of them. Yet it colors all of the information in the book to such a degree that the effect is to make both Richard and Isabel seem petty. Indeed, the whole effect of the book to me is to belitte the efforts the Richard Burton because of the pettiness that both he and his wife seemed to revel in. ... Read more

104. Amazing Traveler Isabella Bird: The Biography of a Victorian Adventurer
by Evelyn Kaye
list price: $19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0962623148
Catlog: Book (1999-09-01)
Publisher: Blue Panda Publications
Sales Rank: 582689
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Award-winning biography of 19th adventure Isabella Bird who visited Colorado, Hawaii and Australia, and gallivanted around Japan, China, Korea, Russia and Tibet writing best-selling books about her travels. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great book - so much to admire in this woman!
I loved this book. What a character! Not only did she travel the world, but she did it with her own money and under her own leadership. Admittedly, she hired lots of support (whole entourages in some cases) but nevertheless, the journies were hers and hers alone. I've done alot of traveling as a single woman, and even these days it takes some courage and self-reliance. I have much admiration for Isabella Bird, who went to all these far-flung places before there were all the modern conveniences and attitudes. Phenomenal woman! ... Read more

105. Letters to Henrietta
by Isabella Bird, Kay Chubbuck, Henrietta Amelia Bird
list price: $20.00
our price: $20.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1555535542
Catlog: Book (2003-04-01)
Publisher: Northeastern University Press
Sales Rank: 299375
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Book Description

Until the middle-aged, unmarried Isabella Bird (1831-1904) left her native Scotland for an independent life of travel, she was debilitated by illness, suffering from "neuralgia, pain in my bones, pricking like pins and needles in my limbs, excruciating nervousness, exhaustion, inflamed eyes, sore throat, swelling of the glands behind each ear, stupidity."Bird was so weak that she required a steel support to hold her head up and spent most of her time confined to bed. Desperate to find a cure, her doctors finally packed her off to the Pacific and Switzerland.Once there, the forty-year-old invalid miraculously recovered, and became determined to seek any adventure that allowed her to see the singular beauty of nature.

In Hawaii, she was the first woman to climb the world’s highest volcano; in Perak, she rode elephants through the jungles; in Colorado, she scaled 14,000 foot mountains, spent six months traveling mostly alone on horseback, and fell in love with a one-eyed desperado named Rocky Mountain Jim.But whenever she came home to Scotland, her symptoms returned, making another trip essential.Bird's remarkable journeys took her to the remotest parts of the world and brought her considerable fame.She became the first female Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, advised Prime Minister William Gladstone on the issue of Armenian Christians, and was presented to Queen Victoria in 1893.Her numerous travel writings, including ‘The Hawaiian Archipelago,’ ‘A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains,’ ‘Unbeaten Tracks in Japan,’ and ‘The Golden Chersonese,’ remain popular today.

In this fascinating collection of Bird's previously unpublished letters to her homebound younger sister Henrietta, one experiences her journeys first-hand and gains insight into the ambiguous private life of a woman who often invented her public face.Containing correspondence from her first two grand tours to Australia, Hawaii, and Colorado in 1872–1873, and to Japan, China, Malaya, and the Holy Land in 1878–1879, ‘Letters to Henrietta’ provides a fresh view of the legendary Victorian traveler. ... Read more

106. Margaret Mee's Amazon: Diaries of an Artist Explorer
by Margaret Mee
list price: $59.50
our price: $37.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1851494545
Catlog: Book (2004-10-16)
Publisher: Antique Collectors' Club
Sales Rank: 126760
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107. Southern Exposure: A Solo Sea Kayaking Journey Around New Zealand's South Island
by Chris Duff
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0762725958
Catlog: Book (2003-03-01)
Publisher: Falcon
Sales Rank: 29852
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this epic tale of sea-kayaking adventure, award-winning author Chris Duff places readers in the cockpit of his 18-foot kayak and lets them experience the full power and beauty of the South Pacific Ocean and the wild energy of the Tasman Sea as it thunders onto New Zealand's uninhabited west coast. Not just an account of human physical endurance and determination to attempt what had only been accomplished once before, this exquisitely written narrative reveals the philosophical and psychological life of a man who has chosen the sea as the master to sit before and to learn from. The intense and often terrifying sea journey is balanced by serendipitous meetings along the way with friendly New Zealanders and with the diverse wildlife of this tiny and remote island country.Southern Exposure is a force of writing that will captivate the armchair adventurer as well as the seasoned ocean traveler.
... Read more

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Wow - fun fun fun in the world's most beautiful place.
There are so many wonderful moments in this book - the feeling of being surrounded by massive power everywhere, the stories of the fishermen in New Zealand, and the surmounting of life threatening obstacles. Reading the Duff's description of Fiordland National Park took me back to this wonderful place as few could. But most of all, Duff presents an epic human journey full of wonder and the power of man. Yet at the same time, Duff sees the sea and knows how small man really is.

There is also a passage or two where Duff speaks about the meaning of his life - how he wants to look back and say that he took advantage of his short time on earth. After reading Southern Exposure, there is no doubt he did.

On the down side, the book's maps could be better. The rudimentary maps in the book have several instances where Duff capsizes but the reader never learns about these instances save for one. I want to know! How did he get back in the boat!? Was he on the ocean?! Also, vast parts of the journey are left off and I want to know more. Like what happened in Christchurch? Tell me more about Fiordland.

5-0 out of 5 stars Duff does it again!
Chris Duff continues to forge into new frontiers. What I enjoy so much about this book and his previous book "On Celtic Tides" is that he is not only exploring coastlines. He's exploring human limits with nature, with solitude, with culture. Chris has discovered (and vividly describes for us) that some of the most valuable things in life can be found by changing our perspective. Chris' style is very introspective. I think the most profound statement he makes is that 'if you know where you are from, and you know where you are going, the conditions you are in become irrelevant.' What matters is our determination in reaching our destination. Thanks Chris for taking us along for another amazing journey and expanding our horizons.

5-0 out of 5 stars Chris Duff's magic...
We're just a few weeks from setting out on a sea kayak expedition of our own, and the stresses and fears grow more intense by the hour. Many times I've wondered why I've taken on this challenge--just planning the trip has been the most complex, consuming project of my life. Then yesterday Chris's new book showed up. I'm going to save it until we're out on the water and in the wilds, but I opened to some random page and read some random paragraph, and what I read instantly vanished the stresses I've been feeling. Everything made sense again, after one little paragraph. That's the magic of Chris's writing. Thanks again, Chris, and good luck to you guys in Iceland. I can't wait to read the rest of the story...
Brandon and Heather ... Read more

108. Rowing to Latitude: Journeys Along the Arctic's Edge
by Jill Fredston
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0865476551
Catlog: Book (2002-10-10)
Publisher: North Point Press
Sales Rank: 66916
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jill Fredston has traveled more than twenty thousand miles of the Arctic and sub-Arctic-backwards. With her ocean-going rowing shell and her husband, Doug Fesler, in a small boat of his own, she has disappeared every summer for years, exploring the rugged shorelines of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Spitsbergen, and Norway. Carrying what they need to be self-sufficient, the two of them have battled mountainous seas and hurricane-force winds, dragged their boats across jumbles of ice, fended off grizzlies and polar bears, been serenaded by humpback whales and scrutinized by puffins, and reveled in moments of calm.

As Fredston writes, these trips are "neither a vacation nor an escape, they are a way of life."Rowing to Latitude is a lyrical, vivid celebration of these northern journeys and the insights they inspired. It is a passionate testimonial to the extraordinary grace and fragility of wild places, the power of companionship, the harsh but liberating reality of risk, the lure of discovery, and the challenges and joys of living an unconventional life.
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Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars Something unique and marvelous
Rowing more than 20,000 miles along the coastlines of Arctic oceans and rivers, this is the well told adventure of a husband and wife team that spent their summers over many years seeking out the wild coastal places around and above the Arctic circle. The author is a wonderful writer who more than capably presents tales of adventure and courage with an ample dose of personal insight. To read this book is to share in the adventure and excitement found along these barren coasts and wild Arctic rivers. Well worth reading and highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rowing To Latitude:Journeys Along the Arctic's Edge
Rowing To Latitude is a privilege and joy to read. Jill Fredston's eloquent, lively writing allows us to intimately experience-physically and spiritually-- her remarkable arctic rowing journeys. Fredston's authenticity at every level gives the book a unique cohesiveness. I was inspired by her wholeness of thought and being, her bravery, her loving (and rowing) partnership with her husband Doug, her tributes to her parents. And she tells a great story. I read a few pages of the book every night,so that I could go to sleep with her incandescent images of landscapes, sea creatures, and arctic light. Jill Fredston reminds us of all that is truly important. I cannot think of a book more relevant in these troubled times than Rowing to Latitude. I will give a copy to everyone that I love.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, honest narrative about life experiences
I was truly sad to finish this book. Jill is very honest about her adventures and about the frustrating and life changing times she has had in the wilderness. Even if the reader is not an outdoorsperson, he or she will enjoy the vivid descriptions of the arctic communities, the relationship between Jill and husband Doug, the struggles Jill faces in life including her mother's battle with cancer and much more. Thank you Jill for writing such a beautiful book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, Adventurous, Real
I just finished reading this book. I stopped part way through, because it was so good, I didn't want to finish it yet. Now, I'm going to name it as the book of the month when I host my book club next. This book is so fresh, so in-your-marrow real, so insightful, adventurous, and breathtakingly descriptive, it defies easy categorization. Ms. Fredston is a fantastic writer, and after hearing her words for the last 286 pages in my head, I sincerely would consider it a tremendous privilege and honor to meet her in person. She has sent me on a search for the woman in me who is so wise, so calm in the face of crisis, so adaptable, so loving, and so passionate about life and living it. I know I have emerged from this reading with a sincere desire to make my life what it is I desire, instead of waiting for "someday". I am thrilled to have her voice added to the voices of other women, so few, who lead us boldly into our dreams, fears, and wildest adventures. You must read this book, and if you have a daughter in high school or college, give her one as well.

4-0 out of 5 stars A great read
When a non-fiction book reads like a fiction book, I know I'm in for a great treat. That is, I find myself looking for little breaks during the day when I natch a page or two to read this book, I know that I have a winner. This is also written by a women who has learned a little bit about life in her winter job as a avalanche expert in Alaska, and she brings this understanding to her passion of rowing in the polar regions. It is Jill's descriptions that are a delight to the mind because they are so well written. Although, I have never seen as ice berg or an ice field, I feel that I have some greater appreciation of the beauty and harm (yes,harm) that they are capable of doing in a split second. I remember the words of some great sage, that said that getting there is what travel is all about, versus vacation when you take a jet and lay in a lounger by the pool. ... Read more

109. Hello, Aibek: A Journey of International Adoption
by Kevin Quirk
list price: $17.50
our price: $17.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1410756769
Catlog: Book (2003-06-01)
Publisher: Authorhouse
Sales Rank: 579720
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars A great read - whether you are adopting or not!
Kevin Quirk, in his book, Hello Aibek!, provides a good deal of enlightenment and entertainment for anyone.I have family members who have adopted children and I have heard their stories, but this one grabs me in a new way.It is storytelling at its best, for it includes those elements that makes this true tale one of universal interest - harrowing adventures, anxious, comic and heartfelt moments, and interesting detailed information about a far off and little known country - Kazakhstan.Although those considering adoption would indeed benefit from learning about the rather frank and very specific ups and downs of the whole adoption process in a foreign country, I feel we all could enjoy such a story.As a minister, I would heartily recommend this book to anyone I knew who was either considering adoption in a foreign land - or to anyone else who'd like to learn how steadfast determination and a willingness to love outweighs any obstacles.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Personable Baby Boy, A Personable Book
"Hello, Aibek" was a delight to read, becoming more delightful with each turn of the page.Even though I knew the ending - of course, Aibek is pictured on the cover - I found myself turning the pages as if it were a novel, wanting to see how it all played out.Mr. Quirk has a charmingly personable way of speaking about his and his wife's experience throughout the adoption process.As well, he includes the things about the experience that prospective parents truly want to know, aside from the information given to parents by the adoption agencies.I would recommend it to those considering international adoption, and to those just wanting to read a heart-warming story.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hello Aibek! ..all the info and lots of emotion...
Hello Aibek! A Journey of International Adoption is more than a handbook.It is a personal, fun adventure story filled with emotion.It is well written and interesting even for those who may just be starting to consider an international adoption.

It captures the joys and difficulties of the process and made me feel like I was on the journey with them.

Nice work.

2-0 out of 5 stars Hello Aibek
I really enjoyed reading this book. I adopted a daughter from the same orphanage in Kazakhstan and it was so touching to read of a very similar experience, in print! I felt it was well written and a great read. ... Read more

110. Helen of Tus: Her Odyssey from Idaho to Iran
by Laleh Bakhtiar, Bakhtiari Rose
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1930637187
Catlog: Book (2002-04)
Publisher: Kazi Publications
Sales Rank: 967681
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This is not a typical book and one should not expect to read it as such. First, the style of the book is very different than what we typically read in English, and it is only after you begin, that it's faint familiarity begins to awaken in you. Told in the naqqali (Storyteller) style, this book is structured similarly to our rich tradition of storytelling depicted in such books as the Shahnameh (Book of Kings, Ferdowsi). Second, the book is full of photos, each captioned, so you can begin to somewhat digest the book that way. Third, is to read the excerpts from the more than 300 letters, written in Helen's wonderfully American style, as a whole other way to enjoy the book. And finally there are the explained perspectives that puts everything into context and fills in the family's viewpoint as described by Helen's equally talented and inspired daughters.

It is the story of Helen Jeffreys, an American from Idaho, who came to Iran as a nurse in the thirties. Who came to raise a family, but also came to serve and love Iran beyond anything we can imagine today. The book is an assemblage, a transcript, a story taken from the letters that Helen wrote to her children during her incredible life. The family's photos and mementoes were used to bring the words to life by 2 of her daughters and Rose (Shireen). and Mary Nell (Laleh). In 1927 Helen met and married an Iranian, a dapper Abol Bakhtiar who had come to America to seek his fortune. The Wild Wild West meets the Wild Wild East.

Helen Jeffreys originally came from Idaho, of strong Scottish, Irish and English stock. Helen's family, like many steadfast American families of the time, were hardy, tried and true blue Americans, who originally came to the lands of the Nez Pierce Native Americans in Idaho, traveling along the famous Oregon Trail as pioneers. They fought in the Civil, Spanish-American, and First World wars. After World War II, Truman proposed what became known as the great "4-Point Plan", one of which intended for America to help spread technology and among other things public health know-how all over the world. A precursor to Kennedy's Peace-Corps. With her family strength fully instilled, Helen joined the Navy as a nurse under the 4-point program and took her commission to Iran with Abol. She then traveled throughout Iran's southwestern provinces bringing public health care to the famine stricken villages of Iran.

Abol came from the famous Bakhtiari tribe in southwestern Iran. The Bakhtiari were famous horsemen and considered to be the bravest fighters, staunchly opposed to any unfair rule by force, remnants of the long forgotten Persian warriors.

Imagine the courage it must have taken for Abol to make his way alone, halfway across the globe to America. Abol, although not featured in the title of the book, was no less than a truly marvelous Iranian. He worked his way from nothing to becoming an American educated physician returning to Iran to become a doctor. He climbed (literally, he once went on an expedition to climb Mt. Damavand and made it to the top 4 hours before anyone else on the team!) and worked his way to the top. The sheer determination of this man, un-dampened by anything, disallowing any doubt to creep into his path, is awe-inspiring. He is in some ways the very essence of the American Dream.

It is also a book of firsts; The first known American to marry an Iranian in the America and go to Iran. The first American Nurse to come to Iran. The first All American Iranian football hero (Helen and Abol's eldest son Jamshid). And there are many more in the book. Helen of Tus is not about the past, it's about potential. What keeps coming back to you is what a perfect example this is of how naturally cultures can in fact blend. That by interacting one can not only respect and understand another's culture, but serve to strengthen their own culture as well. In this time of US-Iran coldening of relations, tedious Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, and insignificant politicians whose greedy self serving vital interests are only in keeping cultures apart, this book is the best testament, no, proof, that dialogue is inherently good, that opening up to another culture with a pure heart is virtuous, and for lack of a better metaphor, that it makes good long term moral investment sense. With good will dividends that pay long after, generation after generation, forever. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars interesting story, great pictures
This was such an interesting project, documenting the first American to marry an Iranian in the early 1900's, and their lives and their children's lives in America and in Iran. I really enjoyed the poetry and the pictures and the letters. I think it could've been laid out a little better (so it's easier on the eyes) but a fascinating story nevertheless. I would definitely recommend it. ... Read more

111. Remembering Ahanagran: A History of Stories
by Richard White, William Cronon
list price: $16.95
our price: $16.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0295983558
Catlog: Book (2003-10-01)
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Sales Rank: 799966
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Sara Walsh was born in 1919 in the west of Ireland, in a land of storytellers. In prose that is neither history nor memoir but something larger and brighter than both, Remembering Ahanagran captures her memories of her early years in Ireland, her migration to the United States, and her marriage to Harry White, the Harvard-educated son of Russian Jewish emigrants. Her son, eminent historian Richard White, in collaboration with Sara, forces history as it is traditionally written into conversation with personal recollections. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A son rediscovers his mother & father & all the family
this was recently read on our WPRadio Chapter - A story that a son rediscovers the journey of his mother, a most naive Irish girl who lands in Chicago, about all those she lives with and then later of his father - who she only met 2 times before he proposed and she accepted - he tells it so tenderly. the father's family is Jewish and hers, Irish Catholic- and in that era, a forbidden match. but his mother Sarah finds her way in life overcoming many losses of relations with their disapproval- on both sides - he discovers who they were and writes it with a way of seeing then and now and all the weaving of the many characters that we all find in our family history. I loved it and want to buy a copy to keep and reread. ... Read more

112. A Way to See the World: From Texas to Transylvania With a Maverick Traveler
by Thomas Swick
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1592281702
Catlog: Book (2003-09-01)
Publisher: The Lyons Press
Sales Rank: 63335
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Take a journey of discovery to the unsung places on the globe.
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beyond travel
Tom Swick has written not just an exceptional travel book, but an exceptional book. Period. Horizon broadening, mind opening, amusing, pure pleasure.

5-0 out of 5 stars The world's mine oyster, which I with pen will open.
Delightful! Thomas Swick's writing is elegant, his observations about the places I've been to are perfect, and his descriptions of places I haven't seen make me feel like I've just been there. Highly recommended. ... Read more

113. Green Suede Shoes : An Irish-American Odyssey
by Larry Kirwan
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1560256443
Catlog: Book (2005-03-12)
Publisher: Thunder's Mouth Press
Sales Rank: 189742
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Book Description

This rock 'n' roll Angela's Ashes begins in County Wexford, Ireland, in the late 1950s, a now unrecognizable, priest-fearing backwater suffocating in superstition and strangled by sexual fevers. After an escape to the Bronx, Larry finds himself, like a musical Zelig, side by side with the Ramones and Blondie at CBGBs; the brothers McCourt, Lester Bangs, and Nick Tosches at The Bells of Hell; the Guinness soaked regulars of Paddy Reilly's; Cyndi Lauper while she ascends and burns; Joe Strummer, Rick Ocasek, Neil Young, and Shane McGowan. The shootings at the Academy and the tragic death of soundman Johnny Byrne punctuate the revels and excesses and presage the gloom cast by 9/11 and the loss of Father Mychal Judge and so many friends. Green Suede Shoes remembers three decades of a lost New York, and celebrates the music and song in which it now lives. ... Read more

114. David Roberts: Travels in Egypt & the Holy Land
by Debra N. Mancoff, David Roberts
list price: $30.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0764910299
Catlog: Book (1999-09-01)
Publisher: Pomegranate Communications
Sales Rank: 591666
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Stuart McCoy
This is not nearly as nice as another David Robert's book, Egypt: Yesterday and Today, but the images are just as beautiful, even in their reduced size. His work is truly amazing and after traveling in Egypt you really appreciate his vision of the past. ... Read more

115. The Adventures of Ibn Battuta: A Muslim Traveler of the 14th Century
by Ross E. Dunn
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0520243854
Catlog: Book (2004-12-01)
Publisher: University of California Press
Sales Rank: 621807
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Known as the greatest traveler of premodern times, Abu Abdallah ibn Battuta was born in Morocco in 1304 and educated in Islamic law. At the age of twenty-one, he left home to make the holy pilgrimage to Mecca. This was only the first of a series of extraordinary journeys that spanned nearly three decades and took him not only eastward to India and China but also north to the Volga River valley and south to Tanzania. The narrative of these travels has been known to specialists in Islamic and medieval history for years. Ross E. Dunn's 1986 retelling of these tales, however, was the first work of scholarship to make the legendary traveler's story accessible to a general audience. Now updated with revisions, a new preface, and an updated bibliography, Dunn's classic interprets Ibn Battuta's adventures and places them within the rich, trans-hemispheric cultural setting of medieval Islam.Illustrations: 15 b/w photographs, 12 maps ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best travel account in history
This book is the travel accounts of Ibn Battuta a Moroccan traveler from 14th. century A.D. who traveled from Morocco to China bassing by North Africa, Egypt, Syria, Arabia, Iran, Byzantine empire, South East Asia(During his travel he was appointed as a supreme judge in Delhy(India) and in Maldive islands(His journey lasted for more than 20 years). He also visited Spain, and West Africa. At the end he went back to Morocco and dictated his travel accounts to the script of the Sultan Anan al-Marini of Morocco.

5-0 out of 5 stars A 14th century traveller who saw more than even Marco Polo
In 1325 the young Morrocan Ibn Battuta left his home to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. On the way, he became enamoured with travel and travelled half the world, from North Africa to China, before returning to his home in 1349. His record of his journeys, the Rihla, is difficult to read and chaotically organised, leading historian Ross E. Dunn to present Ibn Battuta's story in a more accessible format. THE ADVENTURES OF IBN BATTUTA is an extremely interesting book, and I recommend it highly to anyone interested in world history.

Battuta's memoirs often lack detail, so Dunn has put his travels in context by bringing in outside information. Thus, before covering Battuta's travels over the steppe of Northern Asia, he explains how the Mongols came to acquire so much territory and then convert to Islam.

Another interesting part of Battuta's story is how Europeans and inhabitants of the Middle East interacted in the 14th century. Battuta gives an anecdote about a stay in a Muslim town in the Crimean where Italian traders had an outpost. Hearing the Italian's churchbells, which sounded to him like a diabolic cacophony, he and his friends immediately ran to the roof and began to make the muezzin call to prayer. Luckily, there was no violent conflict from this culture class. Dunn's background information also gives interesting details of European activity in Asia during the late Middle Ages. I didn't know that Venetian and Genoese merchants travelled and resided as far east as Tabriz (in modern-day Iran) until I read THE ADVENTURES OF IBN BATTUTA.

5-0 out of 5 stars A traveler with a charmed life
So, what should we know about the Marco Polo of Tangier? The first thing is that the Marco Polo comparison, while of obvious utility, is really not a good one. The Adventures of Ibn Battuta is about Ibn Battuta and his world, and I think the story stands better on its own. Ross Dunn, the author, apparently thinks the same way, since the comparison is mentioned at the very beginning, but seldom after that. Battuta's travels through the world were done in a way only someone of his background could do them.

So what did he do? Ibn Battuta was a twenty one year old scholar of probably modest talent who set out to perform the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and managed to not return home for twenty-four years. He apparently liked to travel, and took quite a few detours whenever he wanted to see something, usually a noted Muslim city or holy site. He did stay in India for quite a long time, working as a qadi, an Islamic judge, at a time when foreigners were welcomed for just that sort of thing. Eventually he made it as far east as China (maybe), as far south as modern day Tanzania, and in a later voyage in his life, down to Mali.

Structurally, the text works well. In each section Dunn provides a background on the region before we learn of how Battuta spent his time there. It helps to know that such and such an emperor had been around for so many years, and was having the following problems. This is not just for our curiosity. Since Battuta, particularly in later years, involved himself often in government affairs, it becomes essential for the reader to know something about what was going on. Though Battuta wrote (or provided information for another author to write) a travel diary after his return, that is not what we see here. Dunn only references Battuta's Rihla occasionally. More often he explains some historiography of the work, pointing out that the text is unclear, missing portions, confusing, or just plain impossible, such as Battuta's claim to have visited Peking, though he would almost have to travel faster than a human could in those days to have done so in the time available.

Of course what makes the text really work is the story. Battuta is an interesting character. He was half rogue and half self-important egotist. It is an essential feature of his travels that he was an educated Muslim traveling in Muslim lands. So everywhere he went, he could present himself to local leaders as a wandering Muslim from far away, and get himself treated to meals, lodging, and gifts. And when I say everywhere, it really was just about everywhere. This is one of the reasons the Marco Polo comparison doesn't work well. In many places he could find Arabic speakers, if not as native speakers, then at least as a second language. Between Islamic custom for charity towards travelers and Battuta's apparently charming personality, he traveled quite far in some comfort and without excessive culture shock.

There is a darker side to Battuta's personality that come out in many places. He was, to put it mildly, a religious bigot. He was condescending towards Shiites. The first time he heard Christian church bells in a mixed region of Muslims and Christians, he and a fellow traveler ran up to the top of the local minaret and began shouting the call to Prayer to try to drown out the sounds. When faced with local behavior in distant lands that he thought non-Islamic, he typically behaved rudely - he wouldn't even enter the house of someone if he thought he would see the wife speaking to other men. As a judge, he imposed full Islamic justice (for wine drinking for example, eighty lashes) on unsuspected locals. In China he was infuriated that the locals didn't want to discuss Islam with him at all. When his career in the Maldives (off south west India) came to a halt, he sailed to a neighboring kingdom on the coast and offered to lead a military expedition to invade them; it didn't happen. So although Battuta could be charming and pleasant, he reserved that honor for proper Muslims, and if he had something to gain from them, all the better. The closest modern day analogy I can think of to describe him would be an arrogant nineteenth Century English nobleman touring the British Empire and ignoring or belittling the natives. The passage of time and remoteness of Battuta to our own life makes the story fun and fascinating, however much of a bore and a rogue he may have been in his own life. So I would give high marks to this story of the Ibn Battuta of the Islamic world.

5-0 out of 5 stars great snap shot of the muslim world in the 14th century
This book is a good snap shot of how the muslim world was in the 14th century. Ibn Battuta also represents the intellectual thought and how traditional islamic knowledge was taught back then. and excellent book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Gets Better As It Goes On
I suspect that the highly negative reviews of this book were written by readers who read the first 100 pages, found them tedious, and stopped. They should have stayed the course, for the narrative improves as Ibn Battuta makes his way eastward to India and the Far East.

The reason it gets better is that Professor Dunn knows a great deal about that part of the world, and presents a fascinating discussion of its history and economics. While Europe was suffering through the Middle Ages, the Middle and Far East were the centers of civilization.

The interesting question is "What went wrong?" Why did these same countries freeze, while Europe entered the Renaissance? But that's the topic of other books. ... Read more

116. Brother in the Bush : An African American's Search for Self in East Africa
by John Slaughter
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1932841083
Catlog: Book (2005-04-15)
Publisher: Agate
Sales Rank: 465846
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Brother in the Bush is a coming-of-awareness memoir about what the experience of Africa can mean for a twenty-first-century African American. John Slaughter is a successful stockbroker in his thirties who decides to travel to Africa to broaden his horizons. He's "made it" as a black man in America, but his life is full of constant reminders of how violently fragile existence here really is.

Not long after his Baltimore townhouse is invaded one night-and Slaughter confronts, shoots and kills the intruder with his shotgun-he embarks on a series of trips that unfolds over almost a decade. Along the way, he discovers a way of life that transforms and deepens his identity as an African American.

Slaughter finds himself seduced and humbled by the contrasting realities, beauties and dangers he discovers in eastern Africa. He begins to ask questions, out loud, about his life, his relationships and his place here in twenty-first-century North America, where different varieties of fear seem to rule every-one to one degree or another. In Africa, he encounters different ways of life (among both Africans and other visitors to the continent) that expand his sense of possibility and begin to change his conceptions of life's purpose and meaning. Slaughter's vivid, blunt and erudite narrative voice moves back and forth from his past, growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, through the present-tense of his journeys, and ranges widely across American culture in unearthing, probing and assessing the truths that Africa helps teach him about his life-and all of our lives-here in America.

John Slaughter is a graduate of Tuskegee University's School of Veterinary Medicine and formerly worked in the financial industry for Morgan Stanley, First Union and other firms. He is the founder of Brooks Photography, for which he now leads photo safaris to eastern Africa.

... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Walk in another man's shoes
A compeling story that allows one to get a glimpse into the life of a black man. While I was initially shocked at the feelings of hostility and anger expressed in the book, I came to understand that I was getting a glimpse of what it was like to walk in another man's - a black man's - shoes.The author also paints a vivid portrait of Africa. All in all an eye opening read. ... Read more

117. Castaway in Paradise: The Incredible Adventures of True-Life Robinson Crusoes
by James C. Simmons
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1574090666
Catlog: Book (1998-06-01)
Publisher: Sheridan House
Sales Rank: 124037
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Castaway in Paradise explores the reality in the myth through the exciting stories of castaways who, because of shipwrecks, perfidious sea captains, or their own choice, found themselves true-life Robinson Crusoes. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Detailed Stories....makes ya wanna be there!
I enjoyed the stories in this book. They were well written and quite descriptive. Two of the eight stories took place in the 1900's; the rest were older (that's my only gripe).

4-0 out of 5 stars hard to put down such compelling and entertaining stories
any failings in literary grace are more than compensated with simmon's ability to ferret out tale after fascinating tale. a great book for vacation reading, to redefine the meaning of a bad day, to put the mind in some unusual places. absolutely gauranteed to liven up the dinner conversation, this one goes straight to my 'favorite-book shelf for guests'in the dacha. if you like it, also take a look at Lansing's 'Endurance.'

4-0 out of 5 stars castaways encapsulated
Simmons gives us brief vignetttes of what real castaways endured - not always a pretty, tropical island picture. This is at the same time the book's strength and weakness. The shortish accounts allow him to cover a lot of ground (geographically and temporally), but they often left me hungry for more detail. Still, all in all, I would recommend it to anyone else out there who enjoyed "Robinson Crusoe," or simply reading about the ocean.

5-0 out of 5 stars Captivating! Intriguing! Very Exciting!
One of the best books I have ever read!!! Many of us wonder: if I were stranded on a deserted island, what three items would I want to have with me? Or-- wouldn't life be easier if I lived on a deserted island! James Simmons clears up any fantisies we might have regarding deserted islands, and it is not a pretty picture. I loved this book so much, I wrote to the author--something I have never done before or since!

5-0 out of 5 stars Stories of real-life castaways
Cruising World praised this book: "How might you fare if a shipwreck landed you on a tropical island? Here are stories of real-life castaways, from Alexander Selkirk in the 1700's, the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, to Tom Neale, who, in the 20th century, preferred solitary island life and became "The Hermit of Suwarrow." ... Read more

118. Living With the Dead: Twenty Years on the Bus With Garcia and the Grateful Dead
by Rock Scully, David Dalton
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0815411634
Catlog: Book (2001-10-01)
Publisher: Cooper Square Publishers
Sales Rank: 324066
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This memoir chronicles the Grateful Dead's seminal years: 1965-1985. ... Read more

Reviews (26)

4-0 out of 5 stars More Dead, not as much Garcia
I've read a ton of books on the Dead and this is my favorite so far in that it's more about the band than Garcia. Granted, there's a lot more about Garcia, but it's not as bad as some of the other books. I was thinking that I'd love to see a book written by Donna -- or any of the other members of the Dead. Hell, a quick essay by Tom Constantine would be great too! Scully tends to write more about the party atmosphere of the Grateful Dead. Great anecdotes and personal stories that you don't really find anywhere else. Things like "The Bobby Problem" had me giggling as I read... it's funny and chock full of good info. I definitely recommend it. The only thing this book is missing is more discussion of the music. Blair Jackson's "Garcia" handles this better, but there's still room for improvement. Overall, I've loved reading this book. A real pleasure for any fan of the Dead

2-0 out of 5 stars Embellished
Although I don't doubt the extent of some of the issues discussed in this book (ie, the moral decay from sex, drugs and rock and roll), clearly it's very subjective and has a rash or two of self indulgent embellishment. According to Scully, Jerry is the musical genius who captained the good ship Grateful Dead, while the rest of the unworthy (in particular Bob, who apparently still to this day doesn't know basic cord changes let alone how to tune his guitar) merely sat on his coattails and enjoyed the trip. Of most interest is Scully's apparent ability to relay pages of quoted, and quite critical, dialogue from over thirty-five years, most of which were spent in self induced medicated states. I don't know about you, but most days I have trouble remembering what I had for lunch yesterday, let alone conversations I had in my younger days while drinking "funny Kool Aid" (unless of course he was writing everything down).

2-0 out of 5 stars cold
Cold heartless writing. Does not capture the heart, soul, spirituality surrounding the Grateful Dead. Unenlightened author who did not get it, in spite of being there all those years.

5-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but not accurate
A number of Scully's historical facts are inaccurate, which struck me as odd since he claims to have had the manuscript proofed by Blair Jackson. Perhaps Jackson's memory is not so good either! I found the sordid tales of My Favorite Band very entertaining, but remember to take them with a grain of salt. And be wary of Cash Cow reviewers who claim to have worked for the band but cannot spell their names, or much else, correctly.

5-0 out of 5 stars CASH COW
I wouldn't have thought of that but Cash cow is the band I knew in the late 80's and early 90's. I worked for this band and would be overwhelmed when I went into the crowds of beautiful lost drugged out KIDS from all over USA who were "trippin" to the "scene" front stage. This stuff depressed me to no end back then. There was alot of stuff going on backstage that wasn't flattering Gerrys "GOD" image to those young folks. Those boys appeared extremely pathetic to me and I was 25 at the time. Thier Rock promoter died in a helicopter crash with his GF and loyal vet helicopter flyer and another band guy died from drugs and then Gerry.. finally.
I found Micky heart a jerk as a young woman and Bob weir esp an complete Idiot who chased super models.
Although this wasn't my type of music, everytime Gerry did his solo everyone backstage stopped what they were doing and we were lost in it. You dont' have to like that stuff to know passion when you hear it.
Cash cow, I wouldnt' have thought of those words back then but thats what I saw them as. They made me cry.
As the writer says Gerry wasn't a bad person. I would have liked to know him better. But they all let people use them and they used other people. These were not smart men. They were gluttons milking their status while it slowly ate away thier lives and a million kids lives watching and supporting it. ... Read more

119. Enduring Patagonia
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375761284
Catlog: Book (2002-10-08)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 518238
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Patagonia is a strange and terrifying place, a vast tract of land shared by Argentina and Chile where the violent weather spawned over the southern Pacific charges through the Andes with gale-force winds, roaring clouds, and stinging snow. Squarely athwart the latitudes known to sailors as the roaring forties and furious fifties, Patagonia is a land trapped between angry torrents of sea and sky, a place that has fascinated explorers and writers for centuries. Magellan discovered the strait that bears his name during the first circumnavigation. Charles Darwin traveled Patagonia's windy steppes and explored the fjords of Tierra del Fuego during the voyage of the Beagle. From the novel perspective of the cockpit, Antoine de Saint-Exupry immortalized the Andes in Wind, Sand, and Stars, and a half century later, Bruce Chatwin's In Patagonia earned a permanent place among the great works of travel literature. Yet even today, the Patagonian Andes remain mysterious and remote, a place where horrible storms and ruthless landscapes discourage all but the most devoted pilgrims from paying tribute to the daunting and dangerous peaks.

Gregory Crouch is one such pilgrim. In seven expeditions to this windswept edge of the Southern Hemisphere, he has braved weather, gravity, fear, and doubt to try himself in the alpine crucible of Patagonia. Crouch has had several notable successes, including the first winter ascent of the legendary Cerro Torre's West Face, to go along with his many spectacular failures. In language both stirring and lyrical, he evokes the perils of every handhold, perils that illustrate the crucial balance between physical danger and mental agility that allows for the most important part of any climb, which is not reaching the summit, but getting down alive.

Crouch reveals the flip side of cutting-edge alpinism: the stunning variety of menial labor one must often perform to afford the next expedition. From building sewer systems during a bitter Colorado winter to washing the plastic balls in McDonalds' playgrounds, Crouch's dedication to the alpine craft has seen him through as many low moments as high summits. He recounts, too, the riotous celebrations of successful climbs, the numbing boredom of forced encampments, and the quiet pride that comes from knowing that one has performed well and bravely, even in failure. Included are more than two dozen color photographs that capture the many moods of this land, from the sublime beauty of the mountains at sunrise to the unrelenting fury of its storms.

Enduring Patagonia is a breathtaking odyssey through one of the worldís last wild places, a land that requires great sacrifice but offers great rewards to those who dare to challenge it.

From the Hardcover edition.
... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great storyteller
It's always good to read a mountaineering book that goes beyond the travelogue or that recites only overcoming the hardships.Gregory Crouch shows he has a knack for storytelling and a literary skill which makes this an enjoyable read.While the latter part of the story lacks the precission and insight of the first part, the narrative style still makes me hope this is not his only book.
As an aging mountaineer of far less skill and experience as Crouch, I found Crouch speaks to the inner psyche of those who find themselves obsessed by the affliction for high places.

3-0 out of 5 stars Well...he aint Krakauer...
I read this book while stranded in an hosteria during a storm in Patagonia.How much more perfect can the situation be?I totally appreciate the passion Crouch conjures, but you can only hear the same old cliches so many times before you realize the author doesn't have anything else to offer.Yes, he loves climbing.Bravo.A lot of people love climbing, and a lot of people sacrifice a comfy job and home in order to satisfy that addiction.Crouch is trying to pave his climbing with a book that just doesn't quite measure up.He has some lovely passages, but if I were reading them from my apartment in Seattle rather than the aforementioned atmospheric perch in Chalten, Argentina, they wouldn't mean anything.That's the true measure of the book.Read it if you're an alpine junkie (or trapped by the Patagonian winds in Chalten), but otherwise, don't bother.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Fantastic - Beautiful
If you climb and have a deep-rooted passion for the emotions that climbing stirs in you then I would highly recommend this book.You don't have to be on the cutting edge of climbing to understand in your heart what Crouch talks about in Enduring Patagonia.Empathy, focus, inner-demons, harmony, determination, pain, self-realization and the laurels of success are the streams of conscious thought that are conveyed so beautifully in Crouch's book.If you climb you know that all these feeling come out in great strength throughout almost every climb.I've never been able to put into words all the emotions and the reason for ones passion of climbing but Crouch's book does a stellar job of wording our obsession with the sport and lifestyle.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fiction or not, I enjoyed it
Well written book about Crouch's interesting life and a vivid picture of his climbing trips to Patagonia.Crouch's point of view is unglamorous; his descriptions (and pictures) of base camp hovels are disgusting, the climbs sound miserable, and the weeks of waiting for good weather seem mindnumbing.And yet, to paraphrase the author, he'd rather be no where else.This curious incongruity kept me engrossed in the book to the end.A very rewarding read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Being There
Beautifully written and evocative--makes you feel you're on a frozen bivy ledge with the author. Suitable for savvy mountaineers and armchair adventurers alike. The author has made several impressive ascents yet is quite honest about his failings, dumb mistakes, weaknesses and fears. I liked his assertion there are no "important routes" in mountaineering except as they are important to the individual mountaineer--who cares if others know of your successes? A few minor complaints: near the end, the author waxes a little too flowery for me on the spiritual and mystical attributes of climbing--it's still only snow & rock; a couple of small grammatical mistakes ["none" often should be a singular pronoun...]; and some problems with parallels ["The depth and breadth of my Patagonian peregrinations are just that--wide and deep..."]. Without getting too maudlin or detailed, the author traces nicely his growth as an adult and alpinist, especially his Army years, and shows how his earlier years impacted his climbing. I had always been leery about trying to climb in Patagonia because the weather seemed to make it a poor bet but Crouch has stirred me to the point where I plan to give it a try, with modest expectations. His book suggests how the place itself, with all the wildness of nature, could be a suitable goal. ... Read more

120. A Castle in the Backyard: The Dream of a House in France
by Betsy Draine, Michael Hinden
list price: $24.95
our price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0299179400
Catlog: Book (2002-09-16)
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Sales Rank: 44850
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In one of the most beautiful river valleys in Europe, in the region known as Périgord in southwest France, castles crown the hills, and the surrounding villages seem carved all of a piece out of the local stone. In 1985, in the shadow of one of these medieval castles, Betsy Draine and Michael Hinden fell in love with a small stone house that became their summer home.

Like any romance, this one has had its ups and downs, and Betsy and Michael chart its course in this delightful memoir. They offer an intimate glimpse of a region little known to Americans-the Dordogne valley, its castles and prehistoric art, its walking trails and earthy cuisine-and describe the charms and mishaps of setting up housekeeping thousands of miles from home.

Along with the region's terrain and culture, A Castle in the Backyardintroduces us to the people of Périgord-the castle's proprietor, the village children, the gossipy real-estate agent, the rascally mason, and the ninety-year-old widow with a tale of heartbreak. A celebration of a place and its people, the book also reflects on the future of historic Périgord as tourism and development pose a challenge to its graceful way of life. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Spectacular Getaway in the form of a Book!
I read this book piece by piece on my commute to and from work. I read quite of few of the "escapist" books, especially the ones where one escapes to the south of France. This one was particulary enjoyable and engrossing. I constantly found myself complaining that my commute was too short. You really feel like you're there with them. The only bad aspect to the book is the fact that it makes me want to do the very same thing as them even more, and my means to do it hasn't improved! An absolute pleasure to read!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great read!
This couple did not choose to live near glamourous Riviera, but this was a very good adventure anyway. It is well written and I would read it again!

5-0 out of 5 stars A CASTLE IN THE BACKYARD
What a total delight this book is. After five years of visits to Provence, I decided on exploring the Dordogne. None of the guidebooks on the market connected me so much with an area as did this beautifully written volume by Betsy Draine and Michael Hinden. Their descriptive writing had me share their agonizing search for their dream house, slowly getting to know their neighbors, and especially their frustration of seeing the idyllic village turn into a tourist mecca. The ending came too swiftly. I could have enjoyed a few more chapters, a sort of never-ending story. Perhaps we will someday be blessed with a continuing volume.

5-0 out of 5 stars A richly textured remembrance of a home and a land
A Castle In The Backyard: The Dream Of A House In France is a wonderful memoir of Betsy Draine and Michael Hinden (both of whom are Professors of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison), who found their summer dream home to be a little stone house in the shadow of a great French castle. A Castle In The Backyard is highly recommended reading as a richly textured remembrance of a home and a land steeped in centuries of tradition and lore, as well as the eclectic and diverse variety of the people who embody its spirit.

5-0 out of 5 stars A True Delight
I savored every word, as if a delicious meal. I didn't want it to end. A very sweet and visual read. The village and villagers came to life in front of my eyes. I can't imagine a summer trip to France without a stop in Castelnaud, and a meal with Betsy and Michael. Two Thumbs up from me. ... Read more

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