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list($15.50)
161. Korea : The Complete Guide with
$39.95 $34.95
162. The Sari
$6.18 list($25.95)
163. Circling the Sacred Mountain :
list($155.00)
164. Roadside Japan
$8.95
165. Nelles Philippines Map
$145.00 $98.00
166. City Profiles USA: A Traveler's
$16.79 $14.05 list($23.99)
167. Frommer's Japan (Frommer's Complete)
$18.87 list($29.95)
168. Space : Japanese Design Solutions
$7.99 $5.21
169. Lonely Planet Sinhala Phrasebook
$3.26 list($26.95)
170. The River's Tale : A Year on the
$55.00 list($34.99)
171. Buddhist Stupas in Asia: The Shape
list($24.95)
172. India: A Million Mutinies Now
$23.95 $9.80
173. Michelin NEOS Guide Syria Jordan,
$16.50 $16.41 list($25.00)
174. Dehli, Agra & Jaipur (Eyewitness
$10.17 $8.49 list($14.95)
175. Travels with a Tangerine : From
$16.77 $15.99 list($23.95)
176. Azerbaijan, 3rd : With Excursions
$12.21 $7.00 list($17.95)
177. Japan: True Stories of Life on
$4.99 $1.80
178. Sam Samurai (Time Warp Trio)
$25.46 $18.95 list($29.95)
179. The Gem Hunter-True Adventures
$13.60 list($20.00)
180. Among Flowers : A Walk in the

161. Korea : The Complete Guide with Walking Tours, Shopping and Day Trips from Seoul
by Fodor's, Fodor
list price: $15.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679023100
Catlog: Book (1993-01-26)
Publisher: Fodor's
Sales Rank: 534820
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Shopping or Site Seeing - It's a Hard Choice!
South Korea has made a terrific come back since the war. The cultural sites are magnficent and represente thousands of years of history. The shopping couldn't be nicer. The people are very friendly and very honest. The cities and especially the countryside is clean and neat. Read more


162. The Sari
by Mukulika Banerjee, Daniel Miller
list price: $39.95
our price: $39.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1859737323
Catlog: Book (2004-04-17)
Publisher: Berg Publishers
Sales Rank: 512532
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Book Description

Drawing on experiences from villagers in Bengal to scientists in Bangalore, this book explores the beauty, adaptability and personality of India's most iconic garment. Banerjee and Miller show why the sari has survived and indeed flourished as everyday dress when most of the world has adopted western clothing. Their book presents both an intimate portrait of the lives of women in India today and an alternative way for us all to think about our relationship to the clothes we wear. Lavishly illustrated and rich in personal testimony, The Sari expertly shows how one of the world's most simply constructed garments can reveal the intricate design of life in modern India.
... Read more

163. Circling the Sacred Mountain : A Spiritual Adventure Through the Himalayas
by ROBERT THURMAN, TAD WISE
list price: $25.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553103466
Catlog: Book (1999-03-02)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 661284
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In the harsh, forsaken landscape of Western Tibet, a holy mountain rises up, the legendary center of the world. Sacred to Hindus and Buddhists alike, Mount Kailash had been in professor and popular writer Robert Thurman's mind for some time when he finally decided to organize a group and go--across the Chinese border, where he has always been persona non grata. Writer Tad Wise decides to tag along and put the adventures on paper. While recording Thurman's dharma lectures, Wise comes face to face with the magic of the mountain, its myths and its people, and haltingly transforms from cynical skeptic to tear-streaked pilgrim. Wise's writing leans toward the quirky, pushing ordinary sentences to their lapidary limits, and Thurman, as usual, tosses off tantalizing Buddhisms like "mind-body bubble" and "supreme orgasm of bliss-void-indivisible." For a book that's effectively about walking 32 miles over rubble around a remote peak, Circling the Sacred Mountain succeeds in drawing you into a mandala of swirling ideas and experiences, nudging you toward your own realizations. --Brian Bruya ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Tibetan Buddhism with a human side
This book was an exhilarating reading experience. With Tad Wise's descriptions of the scenery and Robert Thurman's vivid teachings, I felt as if I was there with them learning and experiencing everything. Their journey was long and storied and well presented. Seeing the experience from two sides, the teacher (Thurman) and the student (Wise) give a wide view of this country and its religion. Wise's antidotes add the human side to the experience. It shows how even you can achieve these great things. I highly recommend this book to anyone who appreciates journeys, religion, or even just a good true story. Thurman and Wise's account make the trek memorable.

2-0 out of 5 stars Boring,lightened only by Wises' gentle humanity
When I purchased this book, i was trepiditious about Mr wises particpation. After all.Mr thurman is an acknowledged authority on tibetan buddhism,a friend of hh dalai lama,and wise is a alcoholic,trying to come to grips with his life. well, thank God for mr wises input in this Book1 It made it readable, and somewaht enjoyable.Mr Thurman comes off as a bullying professor,another self important gasbag who has spent too much time in academia.I have no doubt that he is a sincere buddhist,though what comes off here is a longwinded,pedantic bore.The cloak and dagger bit is a little much,though I am sure his fans will eat it up[will the chinese catch me at the border,etc.]The chinese come off rather brutally ,especially in regard to the compassion esposed throughout this book. For the truest of true believers,though Mr wises is entertaining, engaging and I'd travel with him anytime. Just leave Mr thurman home with a mirror and tape recorder.please.

5-0 out of 5 stars A good book.... BUT....
This book, I suppose, could be read by one of two groups of people. First: it could be read by the New Age Hippie traveller types looking for an intreguing story about a man travelling. I more approve of this kind of reading..... Tad Wise part of the story is told with humor and warm feeling.... The second, more Buddhafied group, looking to Prof. Thruman as a kind of guru, is not going to get enough here. Bad Dharma. Too little.

Perhaps, if one was going to read his sermons with a couple of other books, one could get a good understanding of something. It when accompanied by Wise's prose is fairly... um, enlightening....

I'm afraid that lots of people are going to miss that though.... If the two journeys are disconnected, the book goes to become mediocre..... keep that in mind!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars With Gratitude
This book is a miracle. It joins the opposites of the deepest teachings with human weaknesses, the highest revelations with guides to daily practices, all in a setting of great natural majesty. The bravery of the Tibetan people as they live under Chinese oppression shines through. I am reading the book for a second time now.

5-0 out of 5 stars an fascinating introduction to Tibetan Buddhism
A terrific book! Thurman's lectures on Tantric Buddhism are fascinating, and they are counterpointed well by Wise's narration of the trek to Kalias, his own failings and fears, and his relationship to his teacher. Thurman is (as always) enlightening and impressive, and Wise's story is wonderful in that he is "only" human, too-- it makes the path toward enlightenment seem possible for the rest of us! Also, it's a great book about an exciting trek to the backcountry of Tibet. A wonderful book!! ... Read more


164. Roadside Japan
list price: $155.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 489366641X
Catlog: Book (1998-03-01)
Publisher: RAM U.S.A., Publications and Distribution
Sales Rank: 2307111
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Cultural anthropologist and photographer Kyoichi Tsuzuki describes the pages of Roadside Japan as "a heaping helping of crass, dumb, and vile nonsense." This is the Japan you won't find in chic travel brochures. The image of the Naniwa Yasaka Shrine, for example, features 220 vending machines selling everything from luck in love to horoscopes by blood type. It's an exploration of the roadside attraction where even the Buddhists have theme parks. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars The ultimate conversation piece
I bought this book in Toyko for 4800 yen, so I'm not sure exactly why Amazon is charging {} (!) for it. In any event, this long book of photos is the ultimate conversation piece: Tsuzuki writes a weekly column for a Japanese newspaper about odd things one can see driving around Japan and this book is a collection of his finds. It shows that small town Japan is just like small town US--full of odd folk monuments, primitive art, fiberglass dinosaurs, homespun museums, and other folksy treasures. If you know someone who is going to Japan, have them buy you a copy.

5-0 out of 5 stars also true to life
I got this book after I read Tokyo Style, also by Kyoichi Tsuzuki. As with that book, this one has huge, glossy pics and if you can afford it, it's an entertaining book. I lived near/visited several of the places discussed in the book when I lived in Japan from 1993-1998. I got the feeling at some of the locations that they weren't much used to seeing foreigners. I got my copy in Japan, and it has both Japanese and English text; so maybe you can justify it to yourself as an expensive study aid, if nothing else!

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the most exotic photo essay
This is book that contains many shocking photo that reflects many interesting aspects of the Japanese Culture. It is definitely one of the most interesting photo journey I have read. It is a collection of temples, museums, and site in Japan. From Hokkaido to Kyushu, it included over 150 extremely intriguing places. Great photograph, and great layout of the book. It sure suits its name "Roadside Japan". Some of the picture might be disturbing for some people, but that is just part of the Japanese Culture. ... Read more


165. Nelles Philippines Map
by Nlph
list price: $8.95
our price: $8.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 3886185540
Catlog: Book (2002-06-01)
Publisher: Treaty Oak
Sales Rank: 576318
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Book Description

Scale 1:1,500,000. ... Read more


166. City Profiles USA: A Traveler's Guide to Major U.S. Cities Also Includes an International Section with Detailed Profiles for London, Paris, Tokyo, and Nine Major Canadia (City Profiles USA)
by Darren L. Smith, Nancy V. Kniskern, Lori Alvarez
list price: $145.00
our price: $145.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0780806603
Catlog: Book (2004-04-01)
Publisher: Michelin Travel Publications
Sales Rank: 556895
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167. Frommer's Japan (Frommer's Complete)
by BethReiber, JanieSpencer
list price: $23.99
our price: $16.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0764543237
Catlog: Book (2004-06-07)
Publisher: Frommers
Sales Rank: 122502
Average Customer Review: 3.56 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

You'll never fall into the tourist traps when you travel with Frommer's. It's like having a friend show you around, taking you to the places locals like best. Our expert authors have already gone everywhere you might go--they've done the legwork for you, and they're not afraid to tell it like it is, saving you time and money. No other series offers candid reviews of so many hotels and restaurants in all price ranges. Every Frommer's Travel Guide is up-to-date, with exact prices for everything, dozens of color maps, and exciting coverage of sports, shopping, and nightlife. You'd be lost without us!

Japan can be a bewildering destination, but Frommer's helps you travel like a pro, with practical tips on getting around, communicating, conducting business, and navigating the local etiquette and customs. We've included precise directions to every establishment, and dozens of accurate maps. You'll also rely on our handy appendix of useful phrases and our Japanese character key, which allows you to easily recognize establishment names when you see signs on the street.

In case you're worried about Japan's high prices, Frommer's brings you dozens of listings for affordable accommodations and restaurants. Look for candid reviews of the best accommodations, from plush, high-tech business hotels to moderately priced bargains and authentic ryokan.

Meticulously researched, Frommer's Japan is the only guide you'll need to experience the best of this exotic land. With Frommer's in hand, you'll see it all, from the swirl of Tokyo's nightlife to the traditional Japanese flavor of Kyoto. Whether you want to visit majestic shrines and temples or explore the serene landscapes of the Japan Alps, it's all here in one insightful, user-friendly guide. ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Informative and Reliable
I've been living in Japan for six months now, using this book to plan a number of trips to various places. So far, it hasn't let me down once; recommended eateries and accommodation have been excellent, and the guides to attractions have been accurate and helpful.

It is targeted at people who speak no Japanese, and who are interested in seeing the tourist sights. If you're interested in hiking around the bits of Japan that no tourists visit, you'd be better off with a different book. However, I don't see that as a flaw of this book. It does what it sets out to do extremely well.

1-0 out of 5 stars Maybe I can burn it?
I bought the book for a general overview of places in Japan, and was very disappointed. If you're going outside of major cities, information is very minimal, even skipping some cities with populations of 1 million people. The entire Okinawa island chain was left out as well! In short, this book is terrible!

2-0 out of 5 stars For a real Japan experience, look elsewhere...
Although this book is filled with helpful information, for example, "recommended tours if you have 1 day, 3 days, or 5 days", or "Top 10 Japanese experiences", the (rich, culturally inept) woman who wrote this book intended this for a very specific demographic. This causes a whole plethora of problems when trying to use the book, particularly if you are young, can speak some Japanese, or would like a Real Japanese Experience. Why?

1. Reviews for restaurants and hotels seem to focus on restaurants that serve Western food and speak English (how dare they speak Japanese in Japan!) and Western style hotels that have beds, rather than Japanese styled tatami mat rooms and futons. The humbling experience of entering a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant and pointing at other people's dishes or the pictures on the menu and eating foods you've never seen or heard of-or staying at a fairly inexpensive hotel sleeping on the floor in a futon-is top notch! I felt this book really neglected to mention a lot of these opportunities for cultural experiences, and I found that frustrating when looking for ideas.

2."And what good is a book with no pictures?" Alice wondered...Many of the best ways to get excited about a place is to first see pictures. There are very few, if any pictures in this book.

3. She refers to the Japanese language as "symbols".

4. In addition, rather than giving the Japanese characters for the cities, towns, restaurants and hotels she recommends you visit on that same page (this is very helpful because English translations are not always written, but you can easily make sure you're in the right place simply by comparing the book with the sign), she puts them all in an appendix at the back for inconvenient referencing. Including both the Japanese character and Japanese pronounciation of each location is extremely helpful.

Overall, the book will assist you in having a wonderful English tour of Japan, but I think you may miss out on some great Japanese experiences that do not require a lot of money (which many of her suggestions do require). Of course, this will involve a little bit of work and discomfort on the part of the tourist (although by no means Japanese fluency). Nothing compares to the satisfaction of having successfully ordered yakisoba in broken Japanese!

Bottom Line: This book is better used as supplemental reading to another book, although the beneficial descriptions of must-sees in Japan that are the most helpful in this book can really be found in just about every other guide book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, with much information, but could use more maps
Very useful guidebook--I used it on a trip to Japan in 2001 and I will use it again this year. Much information, about relatively small cities, even, if they would be of interest to Westerners.

A few faults. First, more maps are needed. Yes, I know Japanese don't always name their streets, but they could be based on landmarks. If you choose to visit one of the smaller cities covered, say, Takayama, you will do so without a Fodor's map (get one at the Tourist office, usually by the train station). But even some large cities, which are extensively covered, like Kobe, do not have maps in the book.

Second, more hotels should be reviewed, and they might want to concentrate on the sort of hotel you'd book online.

Third, there's a certain incompleteness about the text. For example, they list the three top gardens in Japan. You will find that only two of the cities are listed in the index. For the third, look in vain.

Still, I recommend it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent and well used
If you are going to Japan for a week or two on vacation, this is the one book you will need. Some go into much greater depth, but Frommer's provided me with plenty of options at all price catagories, all of which were excellent. By the end of the trip I didn't use my Lonely Planet guide any longer as I trusted the Frommer's guide. The size is easy to carry and the orgination makes it easy to quickly reference on the street. The only thing missing is better maps, but I traveled with one in addition to the guide to round out my trip. Well done. ... Read more


168. Space : Japanese Design Solutions
by Michael Freeman
list price: $29.95
our price: $18.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0789310651
Catlog: Book (2004-09-04)
Publisher: Universe Publishing
Sales Rank: 45277
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Book Description

Space is a photographic exploration of Japanese architecture and design in size-constricted areas, exploring imaginative, ingenious, and revolutionary solutions to space-compromised living. Masters in the art of managing small spaces, the Japanese in their design have given rise to a particular style of ingenuity.

In their work, Japanese interior designers and architects constantly draw on cultural traditions, while using a modern, even radical approach. Whether in the use of lightweight partitions to create flexible spaces, deliberate profligacy to give a feeling of generosity, or strange perspectives, the results are not mere workaday solutions, but artistic and unusual ones that can turn a lack of space into a surfeit of style.

Distinctly Asian in its feel and comprehensive in its coverage, featuring every room of each highlighted house, the book is divided into such themed sections as "Every Square Centimeter," "Interconnection," "Wasting Space," and "Shock Value."

The crisp photography, inventive design solutions, unique packaging, and handy format make Space the perfect gift for anyone looking to maximize his or her space as well as architecture enthusiasts and those with an interest in Japanese style.
... Read more

169. Lonely Planet Sinhala Phrasebook (Lonely Planet Sinhala Phrasebook)
by Swarna Pragnaratne
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 086442597X
Catlog: Book (2001-12-01)
Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
Sales Rank: 170607
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Book Description

Make the most of your travel tin Sri Lanka: speak Sinhala! If you're after a ticket for the cricket, the best way to the beach or a taste of Ayurveda treatment, this is the book for you. Seek out the striking Sigiriya frescoes or kick on with the kolam dancers at Ambalangoda. Barter for your batiks or talk tea at the plantation – whatever you choose, add sparkle to you, speech on the Isle of Gems.

  • get the lowdown on full moon days and festivals
  • don't be thrown by signs in script
  • curry favour with your waiter – order in Sinhala
  • use the comprehensive dictionary to find words fast
  • know the right vocab for monk communication
  • wise up on Sinhalese pronunciation and grammar
... Read more

170. The River's Tale : A Year on the Mekong
by EDWARD GARGAN
list price: $26.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375405844
Catlog: Book (2002-01-22)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 258787
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

"The Mekong scours some of the saddest history of recent years," writes Edward A. Gargan in this richly described and melancholic tale of his journey through Tibet, China, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Thirty years after landing in jail for refusing to register for the draft, the war-protester-turned-foreign-correspondent decided to see for himself how these countries have brought themselves back from the brink, and how their myriad cultures are struggling to preserve themselves. Beginning at the source of the Mekong River, near a camp of nomads high on the Tibetan plateau, he followed the 3,000 mile-long waterway through the heart of some of Asia's most complex and wounded societies. While the first half of Gargan's story, which focuses on China's demolition of Tibetan and other minority cultures, is interesting, it becomes gripping in the claustrophobic paranoia of Laos and post-Pol Pot Cambodia. Ultimately it becomes clear that while America lost the war in Vietnam, it has never left the region--lingering in the scars of war and inversely the creeping acceptance, if not embrace, of all things American. --Lesley Reed ... Read more

Reviews (13)

3-0 out of 5 stars The River's Tale - worth a second look
The first time I read this book I felt bogged down and board, but I decided to give it a second chance. And I'm glad I did, because Gargan's travels are, at times, incredibly entertaining. As we travel the Mekong River with Mr.Gargan we are introduced to many interesting characters one of my favorites was Dakpa Kelden, a Tibetan man who accompanies Gargan early on his journey. The histories of the people we meet along the way, as well as that of the countries themselves are remarkable. Mr. Gargan on top of being accurate is also lyrical with this work. At times his description of a flower, town, or the river it self are so magnificent that you have to read it again. Overall a good read, especially for those interested in travel, but easy to over look.

5-0 out of 5 stars Historical and Contemporary Glimpse
A Really interesting and observant 3,000 mile trip down the Mekong, primarily by boat. From the river's mouth to its end in the Mekong Delta: Tibet, China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Ed Gargan could have played a medical trump card to avoid the draft during Vietnam war, but instead he stood up for his beliefs and refused to register, thus serving time in federal prison. This was an influential experience, and he did refer to it at times, and American war situation in Indo-china, understandably.

Noting the past history and recent events of these places, and then talking with people to get their perception and viewpoints on where things are headed. Very balanced peppering of relevant historical occurrences, recent political situations, and down-to-earth local conversations about life in these places. Indigenous life and the cultural aspects of it in the areas he visited were noted.

The Chinese ethnic Hans are continuing their colonization of Tibet, imprisoning people, destroying temples, and other aspects of Tibetan culture. The secretive government of Laos is still in the moribund foggy myst of Marxist-Leninism, those "foreign white guys." He briefly tapped into the bohemian traveler opium-den culture of Laos on his way through, though as an observer and not a participant. He also interviewed one of the few survivors of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge torture and killing prison, finally ending his journey with a young Vietnamese woman's observant description of contemporary Vietnam and where its people and nation are headed in the future.
Very descriptive and observant piece of work.

There are some interesting facts that are noted by Gargan.
Francis Garnier, the French colonist who traveled the Mekong for two years in 1866. He apparantly didn't learn much, and he got what he deserved in the end. Another tid-bit, is that the character Colonel Kurtz in the movie "Apocalypse Now," is based on an actual person. Also there are more pickup trucks per capita in Thailand than on any other nation on Earth.

This is a great book for people who like travel books, and for those who have an interest in, or who are going to South East Asia.
Another great book I'd recommend that is also about boat travel: "Three years in a 12-foot boat," by Steven Ladd.

1-0 out of 5 stars Not Worth Reading
I read most of this book last month on a return trip home to Thailand. I regret wasting the money. Edward Gargan's book is not about the river, but is rather a self-serving expedition into rationalizing his own sordid background of anti-war protests, prison, and his penchant for berating anything not 'American' according to his own definition. Anyone considering purchasing this book would do well to read the introduction first, as this lays the theme for the rest of the book. In fact, most of the book simply seeks to justify the author's mid-60's conception of what the world ought to look like, and ignores the realities of life in Asia. It's hard to believe the author claims to have lived here so long; his naivety is overwhelming throughout the book. Indicative is his journey into Tibet, which consisted of a drive into the Dzatoe countryside and a short hike which the author fears may cause death due to debilitating altitude sickness. From this brief excursion he proceeds to extrapolate his experience into a condemnation of the entire Chinese history in the region! This is a very shallow book, poorly written, and about as adventuresome as an anti-war demonstration in San Francisco, which appears to be the author's main claim to fame. For anyone who knows the Mekong, or is interested in finding out more, there are much more balanced and thorough publications to read.

4-0 out of 5 stars enjoyable travelogue - good backgrounder
This is an enjoyable travelogue to read that covers Tibet, Southern China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The author has a different perspective on the countries than an ordinary traveller, and even has his own ideas about travellers.

I enjoyed reading this book as I prepared for my upcoming trip, because it gave me a taste of what I would experience. You can easily read a chapter, all of which stand alone, or read the entire book from cover to cover.

5-0 out of 5 stars A moving account of postwar Asia and Indochina.
What brought Ed Gargan to explore the Mekong river was not only his interest in Southeast Asia, but also the desire to exorcise his war demons. During the Vietnam War, he was one the many conscientious objectors who protested against the war and ended up in jail.

Gargan spent a whole year traveling the Mekong from its source in the Tibetan mountains to its mouth in Vietnam. What resulted from this year of solitude and disconnection from western civilization was a beautifully written and detailed analysis of the people who lived along this mighty river.

He visited Tibet, a country invaded by the Chinese, then southwest China, Burma, Laos, the golden triangle where opium was mass produced, and finally Cambodia, and Vietnam.

In Vietnam he journeyed through the delta towns of Can Tho, Chau Doc, My Tho, and Ben Tre where he described the activity of the floating markets and took the pulse of the local people. He visited with a bui doi, product of an American soldier and a Vietnamese woman then talked to a former South Vietnamese translator for the US Army who spent three years in a reeducation camp after the fall of Saigon. The father of a businesswoman he met in Can Tho was also interned and died in a communist reeducation camp.

He noticed that, while southerners were straightforward, northerners were at best vague, if not duplicitous. Southerners, with their sense of identity and culture, deplored what they called the invasion and occupation of their land by northerners who "brought a rigid authoritarianism that has stunted the lives of Vietnamese."

This is a tale of war, suffering, and destruction. This is also a moving account of postwar East Asia and Indochina where people attempted to rebuild their lives and struggled for survival under communist control while still yearning for the world beyond (read freedom and education). ... Read more


171. Buddhist Stupas in Asia: The Shape of Perfection
by Bill Wassman, Robert Thurman, Joe Cummings
list price: $34.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1864501200
Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
Sales Rank: 597930
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

When the Buddha was dying, he instructed his followers to cremate hisbody and enclose his remains inside four separate monuments or "stupa-mounds."These manmade "axial mountains" became the prototype for the monuments that areso beautifully presented in Joe Cummings's Buddhist Stupas in Asia. Eachspread features full-color illustrations or photographs, depicting the varyingshapes, designs, and scale of this holy architecture. "People in all thedifferent cultures that have discovered Buddhism seem to have gone crazy withjoy, building stupas by the millions," writes Cummings, whose other LonelyPlanet titles cover Thailand and Bangkok. "[They are] more than funeralreliquaries. They are memorials, rather, to the immanent possibility of freedomfrom suffering for all beings." Ten pages of transparent architectural overlaysexplain how the sacred meets function. This is entertaining learning at itsbest--a book that's loaded with knowledge, yet packaged with visual appeal. - -Gail Hudson ... Read more

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Neat and Concise Work
Buddhist Stupas in Asia: The Shape of Perfection by Bill Wassman (Photographer), et al, offers a sweeping and broad overview of the epitome of Asian Buddhist architecture. The photographs are good and the succinct commentary is informative enough. This is not a book for hardcore history buffs though, as the very short accompanying analysis would not suffice; nevertheless, in most cases the photographs more than compensate by offering quality glimpses of a divine form of architecture. One drawback: some of the photographs are too small for the subject to be really appreciated (some are as small as approx. 3cm x 3cm!). All in all: an enjoyable mind-trip through the very essence of Buddhist architecture.

5-0 out of 5 stars Joe Cummings and Great Photography
This book covers Buddhist architecture across its known history, from its origins in Northern India through Southeast Asia to Indonesia, to Nepal and Tibet, into China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam. The emphasis is clearly on architecture, but it covers the relevant backgrounds in Buddhist art and philosophy as well. If you want a book about Buddhist cultures or thought, this is not it. But if you want a book about Buddhist architecture, this is a great beginning. It is well-written, well-designed, and the photography is excellent. I wish it were much longer and went into much greater depth... but then it would be much more expensive!

I received this book as a surprise gift, and I think it makes a great gift: it's the kind of thing someone would want and enjoy, but would not buy for themselves.

The author, Joe Cummings, also writes the Lonely Planet guidebooks for Laos, Thailand and Myanmar (Burma), and they are excellent. I've been to all three places, and so I've seen many of the stupas covered in this book, and his guides have helped me more than most do.

5-0 out of 5 stars a must for Asian art lovers
When I opened this book in the bookstore, I was knocked out by the photos, which cover stupas all the way from Taxila, Pakistan, to Tokyo, Japan. The stupa photography is particularly strong in the chapters on India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Tibet. An entire chapter is devoted to Borobudur and satellite stupas in central Java.

Dipping into the text at home, I was pleasantly surprised by how authoritative and complete the coverage of this complex topic was. Not only does the author do an excellent job of explaining the symbolism of stupas in various Buddhist cultures, he also links it to the history of Buddhism throughout Asia, no small task. Although I'm a longtime amateur student of Buddhism and Asian art history myself, I found much new material to ponder.

I was most impressed by the way Mr Cummings has carried out original research as well as reporting on the research of other scholars who came before him. This is something I didn't expect from a hardcover pictorial such as this. Kudos to Lonely Planet for publishing a seriously good book. ... Read more


172. India: A Million Mutinies Now
by Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul
list price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670837024
Catlog: Book (1991-01-01)
Publisher: Viking Pr
Sales Rank: 306998
Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars A personal view
This is a big book about India and its people. When you start to read this book you indubitably bring your own baggage of views and expectations, which color your subsequent grasp of the book and the picture it presents. I am an Indian expat and like many other expats, I am often called on to present my take on my homeland. Having grown up in India I could relate to my immediate experiences and my family. I like most Indians had no sense of history(other than the post independence interpretation found in most books on India), how they came to be and where my people are in relation to the world. India is fragmented into so many religions, classes &castes it is almost impossible for an ordinary Indian to grasp the whole.

This book by Naipaul attempts to paint a picture of the whole and define the crux of what it means to be an Indian(a very modern concept). Naipaul is perfectly suited to this task, with his curious mind and very sharp observations. After having followed India over three decades, he does have a handle on the mentality of an Indian, at the same time he relates to the wider world and has a sense of perspective. This book presents a collage of people from different parts of India, different classes, castes, religion. He attempts to find out what drives them within the wider social context and how they see themselves, their values and their expectations and how they are standing up to the changing times. His portraits are clear, sympathetic and samples the wide spectrum of India. The people we meet are a varied group, a lower caste former Naxalite leader from the south, to a former Nawab of Lucknow, gangsters from Bombay, a disillusioned Sikh, a Bengali Boxwallah... An access into the minds of such a wide cast of people is definitely the best thing about the book. You could take from this selection what interests you; strange cultural practices, triumphs and tragedies of a slum dweller or a struggling Brahman. Fascinating details that an Indian might not spend a second thought on are illuminated by this author of Indian origin. In spite of so many people and interviews, the narrative is for the most part easy going and does not leave you stranded. This is because there is the underlying theme to the book I talked about earlier and Naipaul's skills a great travel writer.

Naipaul's quest is not truly an Indian one, i.e. it is not a quest that an Indian would undertake, as he/she is ensconced in a rich cultural mythology that gives a sense to every ones place which most people accept in the normal course of life or are frustrated by its limitations, but learn to accept it as part of the 'tension of living'. Naipaul's quest is an occidental mind's attempt to know India. That is not taking way from it any of its value, as from his unique perspective he sees things that others easily miss. At the same time in many parts of the book, he fails to grasp the underlying thoughts and world view of each of the Indians he meets. He is more in his element when he meets people of the educated class in the cities and towns but fails for the most part in getting to know the peasant. This is sometimes only too obvious when Naipaul meets some of the people to be interviewed in the plush surroundings of his hotel, which some of his interviewees are probably setting foot for the first time in their lives and which they would be talking about long after the author has gone. This is where his occidental mind fails, it fails to see the Indian peasant from how he sees himself and has a condescending respect for his hard life.

In spite of its very few limitations, this is the best book on India I have read(I rank it higher than his earlier book, An Area of Darkness). It is sincere and sympathetic and you do come from it feeling you know the people of India better. This is also an important book that probes the Indian psyche in this time of change. Indians for the most part are opening up to the world and are bucking up to see a lot of changes in their lives & culture, mostly irredeemable.

5-0 out of 5 stars Insight into India
This is one of the better books I've read on India. Set in the late 80s I think this book gives a very deep insight into India of that period. Naipaul sees things that very few of us Indians see (I am an Indian who has lived in India almost all his life). I believe one of the reasons Naipaul's perspective is so interesting is because he has the added advantage of someone who is not necessarily tied to the Indian psyche by being involved with India on a day-to-day basis. At the same time someone who has lived with the concept of India since childhood.

The only drawback is that if an outsider hopes to understand contemporary India through this book it will give a good but not complete perspective since much has happened in the last decade.

5-0 out of 5 stars An insightful portrait of India
"India: A Million Mutinies Now" by V. S. Naipaul presents a snapshot of India during 1988-1990. It portrays small on-going struggles at that time through the stories of common people.
The book covers most of the India through observations at the places Naipaul visited and through the stories of people he met. Most of the people interviewed in these stories happened to come from small town or village and succeeded in settling in metropolitans. In that sense, it is not the first hand portrayal of rural India, but an indirect one. The stories, however, do provide an insight into the minds of Indians - this is, perhaps, the unique highlight of the book. With the passage of time, things have changed in India, especially after economic liberalization of 1991, but the psyche of the Indian people will take more time to change. For Indian readers, the book provides an unbiased account of the people from different states and their struggles - it will certainly change their prejudices about different provinces. For non-Indian readers, it provides a snap-shot that transcends the barriers of time, when it comes to depicting a picture of culturally diverse India.

5-0 out of 5 stars Penetrating and full of love
The title of the book is apt for the content. Naipaul very delicately writes about the mutinies within and without in modern India. What best way to describe the struggle than to pick characters from different walks of life, explore them objectively and incisively. What you cannot miss is however his love for the country and a passionate desire to learn more about a struggle he could not be part of. This book to me is stripped free of pessimism towards India for which Naipaul seems to be criticized all over the place.

I would recommend this book to anybody who knows fairly well about India. Its not a primer to Indian civilization, its deep and you'd appreciate it only if you can get into the skin of the characters.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for travelers
Nobel prize winner V.S. Naipaul's masterpiece on India is a must-read for any Westerner seeking a deeper understanding of India. Naipaul tells the story of this incredibly complex country person by person, through in-depth interviews of his subjects not on politics, culture or religion but on their personal lives. Naipaul tells the stories of a wide range of characters--a secretary to a prominent businessman, members of the Bombay underworld, a Marxist rebel. He tells the story of Amir, the descendant of the Raja of Mahmudabad, now living in the palace his ancestors had gotten from the British, lost after Partition, and regained after he became a successful Muslim politician in a Hindu area. And the story of Kakusthan, a modern man who returned to tradition and the life of a pure Brahmin, in a ghetto surrounded by a Muslim neighborhood. And the story of Ashok, who rejected an arranged marriage, managed to break into marketing as a career, and now struggled with the decline of the genteel, Anglo business world he had grown up in. Naipaul's great talent is in ferreting out the details of everyday life--what his people ate, wore, above all where they lived--often in tiny 10' by 10' rooms with wife and children. One comes away with a great appreciation of the notion of caste, so embedded in the society and culture for religious and non-religious alike. One also begins to appreciate what a struggle life in India is for everyone, especially those who live in cities. This book is full of stories of struggle--against tradition, to preserve tradition, between castes, between Hindu and Muslim--and of more down to earth struggles--to find a job, to find housing, to choose a career. Unfortunately Naipaul wasn't able to interview women with the ease he interviewed men--not surprising in this traditional society--and women appear only as shadowy wives and mothers in the narrative. But a great book nevertheless. ... Read more


173. Michelin NEOS Guide Syria Jordan, 1e (NEOS Guide)
by Michelin Staff
list price: $23.95
our price: $23.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 2068554011
Catlog: Book (2000-04-01)
Publisher: Michelin Travel Publications
Sales Rank: 568525
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Who hasn't dreamed of exploring Petra, the hidden mythical city of the Nabateans, carved out of shimmering rose-red sandstone; of strolling around the colonnades of ruined Palmyra by moonlight; or of meditating on the sumptuous carpets in the Omayyad mosque? This book guides you through the spice-scented maze of souks in Aleppo and Damascus, recommends good hotels, restaurants where you can sample the best mezze, hammams where you can relax, and explains the subtleties of Syrian and Jordanian hospitality. Suggested itineraries and maps will take you from the thousand-year-old sites of Ougarit, Ebla and Mari to the Roman cities of Jarash and Apamea, from the Byzantine Dead Cities to the crusaders' fortresses of Kerak, Margat, Saladin's citadel and the Krak de Chevaliers... ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars "Which Way?" The Driver Said and Other Tales
Having needed to help my guide/driver navigate the backroads of Syria a month ago, I can say with total confidence that Neos Guide is an "Absolute Must Have" book along with the Lonely Planet "Syria". The city maps especially are extemely clear and necessary, the cities and historic sites are well described, and the recomended selection of sites to see, is superior to suggestions offered by local guides. Trust your book, your guide's actual travel experiences may be limited.

Acceptable hotel accomdations are a bit problematic in Syria and the Neos Guide was indespensable; hotel descriptions were accurate, the location maps clear, and the prices as quoted. In the final analysis I was always best off selecting a hotel recommended by Neos.

The section dealing with culture and customs was helpful in avoiding social snafus. The historical section was brief and concise.

This is simpy a excellent and necessary guidebook for the independent traveler to Syria and Jordan, for business or pleasure. ... Read more


174. Dehli, Agra & Jaipur (Eyewitness Travel Guides)
by Not Applicable (Na )
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0789497174
Catlog: Book (2003-09)
Publisher: DK Publishing Inc
Sales Rank: 61807
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Book Description

Highlights the areas of: Delhi, North Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and it surroundings.- ... Read more


175. Travels with a Tangerine : From Morocco to Turkey in the Footsteps of Islam's Greatest Traveler
by TIM MACKINTOSH-SMITH
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812971647
Catlog: Book (2004-06-08)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 32329
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this book, the author retraces the steps of Ibn Battutah's eccentric 29-year journey during which he traveled most of the known world. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Polymath tells all
A retracing of some of the journeys (Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Southern Arabia, the Kuria Muria Islands,Turkey and the Crimea)of the fourteenth century traveller, Ibn Battuta.
The author is a British born and educated Yemen resident, fluent in classical and colloquial Arabic and deeply learned in history and music. The book contains quotations in French, German, Russian (in the Cyrillic alphabet), Turkish and Greek. I thought I'd caught him misquoting Pliny, but then realized he was making a Latin joke. Some of his polyglot puns are outrageous. In The Umayyad mosque in Damascus he found Ismailis and Shiites at prayer, but that the orthodox were keeping the Sunni side up.
The long digressions on obscure Arab writers and religious teachers and the intrusive parade of erudition might put some people off. It's a bit like reading Umberto Ecco where some readers, such as myself, get entranced by the writer's flattering assumption that we are as clever as he is.
He travelled rough and travelled alone. He explains at one point that he cannot marry because he is an "ah, orientalist." He shows much interest in, and sympathy with, the Moslem religion but I got the impression that. like his fellow orientalist, TE Lawrence, he likes Arabs best if they are poor and rural, a faintly patronizing attitude.

5-0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly interesting, even handed view of modern Arabia
I was drawn to this book after realizing that, having done my share of low budget travel in Asia, I would comprehend more from a travel narrative about Arabia then the hyperbolie in the Press and the flood of books proclaiming insights into Islam. I was not disappointed, and in fact was pleasantly surprised at how well Mackintosh-Smith tells his story. His premise, to retrace the route of the famous 14th century Morroccan traveler Ibn Battutah, allows the book to easily offer up comparisons of life in the hey day of Islamic civilization versus our own modern day time of war. This is one of its strengths and delights. You can readily see that people in many ways have not changed much.

I found it refreshing to read of MacKintosh-Smith's many encounters with everyday devote Muslims as they visited the tombs of saints and in true hospitality took him under their care. I was also delighted to learn so much about the southern coast of Oman, a place that looks totally deserted on maps of the Arabian Peninsula, but which turns out to be home to (mostly) very friendly people. It reminded me in some ways of travelogues from rural towns and the midwestern United States where life is slower and people pay more attention to travelers. And like the midwest, instead of raving fundamentalist Muslim fanatics, time after time MacKintosh-Smith encounters educated, polite people who try to help him in his quest even if it seems a bit bookish and impractical to them. (Several people try to tell him, " That was 700 years ago, things are different today!")

The book is not perfect of course - it does have it's slow moments. These seem to come chiefly when MacKintosh-Smith gets caught up in describing his own state of mind rather than keeping to his formidable powers of describing the scene around him. There is a certain awkwardness when he tries to reveal some of his own more private encounters but then at the last minute drops it and leaves you hanging. And things can get slow when due to the ravages of time he can find no connection between where he is and what was there in Battutah's day. Lastly, the book does not cover all of Battutah's travels, just the first third. Oh well - small price to pay for what is overall a very pleasurable and informative read. Through MacKintosh-Smiths's eyes I have gained a sense of how an ordinary Muslim citizen in the Middle East lives. I look foward to reading more should MacKintosh-Smith continue the journey and publish another volume.

5-0 out of 5 stars Evocative, erudite tale from, yes, an orientalist!
Those lucky enough to have read Tim Mackintosh-Smith (or "Ahmad Kandash," according to some of his native Arab neighbors) on his adopted land of Yemen (I wish the American press had kept the British subtitle "Travels in Dictionary Land") will find the same strengths in this account. Outside of, say, an Omani snack of dried shark and Scotch or a jeep bounce, the report from the hinterlands is driven more by insight than ignition. In the manner of many such travellers' tales from more leisurely pens and patient eyes, not much happens in the way of thrills; a subtler, refined retelling of IB's adventure through his own retracing gives a filtered, reflective sheen to the book.

I sense throughout an unease with his "masahi," or Christian status--with many he meets understandably amazed at his command of Arabic, Tim's constantly finding himself almost apologetic for his "infidel" status. I wonder if ensuing books (long life to the author so he can tell his journey's sequel--even if he's the same age as me--not that old!) will unfold not only the geographic and personal encounters he tells so well, but his own spiritual struggles. Foreshadowed perhaps in the transcendent dervish dance he witnesses.

Anyone who can gracefully cite the apropos Edward Lear allusion, the culinary reference (some of which escaped me due to my parochial palate), or learned medieval reference and still keep a travelogue dynamic and unassumingly witty while avoiding cliche or pandering is an accomplished scholar and a skilled word-smith. His range of knowledge enters at the right moment, and then recedes; he largely does not show off what he knows. Instead, he sprinkles it into the text to flavor the immediate image or conversation he's narrating to us. Not an easy feat.

But the world he enters can never be entirely plumbed by a Westerner; skilled as he may be, this author knows the power of the unresolved detail. I have no idea how he makes a living, what he does exactly in Yemen, the depth of his Christianity, or his sexual preferences! (Despite his Crimean guide Nina.) This rendering, skillfully, shifts the focus on and off the first-person narrator. Conjuring up the aura of differance, as the French critics opine, endures and makes his encounters memorable. For instance, I wonder if Habibah's "tambul promoting, er, cohabitation" [p. 238] worked? His "research assistant" never seems to have reported back, or else Tim proves once again how mystery trumps the mundane.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting and extensive history
'Travels with a Tangerine' is an excellent travel book and history book that chronicles the adventures of Ibn Battuta, one of the most famous Muslim explorers of the Euroepean 'Middle Ages'. Mackintosh-Smith, a 17-year resident of Yemen, follows "IB's" route from Morocco to Egypt to the Saudi Arabian peninsula to the Crimea and Istanbul, IB's 'Travels' as his main guide. Mackintosh-Smith's adventures are as compelling as IB's, and it is remarkable how much has not changed in the almost 700 years since IB began what was a 25-year journey that took him to China and back. The narrative is both entertaining and informative; however, it was a little dense at times, and I wish I knew more about IB and Muslim history before I started the book. The author gives one of the most balanced accounts of the modern Muslim world that I have ever read, and it's great to read about regular people who respect themselves and others, in contrast to the sensationalistic news reports we are bombarded with every night. A good book and a great adventure. ... Read more


176. Azerbaijan, 3rd : With Excursions to Georgia
by Mark Elliott
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1873756798
Catlog: Book (2004-10-01)
Publisher: Trailblazer Publications
Sales Rank: 165421
Average Customer Review: 4.89 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Third edition of the guide that was the first and still remains the only dedicated guide to Azerbaijan. Features 200 maps with 180 explanatory visuals--vital in a country where there are few reliable maps. Includes full historical background, cultural tips, visas, where to stay, and where to eat for all budgets.
... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must-have for Azerbaijan
If you're going to Azerbaijan you must have this book - in fact, several companies issue this book to their international staff here. It is extremely comprehensive and thorough and very accurate (though there have been some changes). As someone that has lived in Azerbaijan for the past year and a half, I continue to be impressed with this book and have relied on it many times. It is an essential guide to exploring Azerbaijan - a country that has a lot more to offer than most would expect. Buy this (and avoid the Lonely Planet one - it does a really bad job for Azerbaijan!).

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Travel Guide to Anywhere!
I picked up this book shortly before I left to come to Azerbaijan for a year. It has been my constant companion while living in Baku (the capital) and in making countless excursions out of the city. Having been here almost a year, I can safely say it's the best travel book I've ever read for any place. It is delightful to read and its author's warm and quirky sense of humor make it a constant source of entertainment.

Perhaps the best recommendation for this books comes not just from the many expatriots who rely on it, but from the native Azeris who are astounded at how well Mark Elliott (native of UK) knows their country. Azeris are famous for assuming (perhpas rightly so) that the rest of the world knows nothing about their country. So, when Azeris recommend a book about their country, written by a foreigner, it is a pretty good endorsement.

By far the best aspect of the book are the scores of maps and illustrations--all done by the author. As a trained geographer, I appreciate the excellent maps loaded (almost overloaded) with information. They are easy to read maps that make it difficult for the traveler to get lost. I am particularly impressed by how a map can simultaneously accurate and amusing! My favorite entry is the map of the fascinating town of Quba that includes "Old Men" sitting in the park. Damned if they weren't still sitting there. On another map, the author suggests looking for grey beards at the point where you're supposed to make a particular turn. Sure enough, there they were.

Living in Baku, my family and often make use of Elliott's recommendations for restaurants. Of course restaurants come and go, but the information is nearly always accurate and detailed.

My eight-year-old son and I have enjoyed taking his "scavenger hunt" for artistic architectural oddities in the city. I think we've now found all the objects in the second edition, but a third one is already on the drawing boards.

Mark Elliott has a delightfully respectful attitude towards Azerbaijan and the Azeris. This is different form many travel books (Including the Lonely Planet Guide to the South Caucasus) which often take on a preachy attitude which tends to poke fun at the local cultures rather than respectfully describing them as Elliott does.

In addition to being a good travel book, this book also is a worthy source of information on the country for anyone interested in learning about it.

Having lived or traveled extensively in over fifty countries I can recommend this book most highly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Practical but loving
This is a travel guide with all the practical details you'd expect from a series like Lonely Planet, but with more soul and many more maps. If you go to this part of the world, make sure you have this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Packed With Info, Yet a Lively Read All the Way!
Mark Elliott's guidebook is more than the bare-bones "here's where you can stay and eat" sort of volume. Sure, he gives you all of that necessary information (prices, best value, etc.) but the true worth of this book lies in the pleasure reading it. Let's face it: If you're not planning on visiting a certain destination, you'd never pick up, much less buy, a guidebook on that locale. But Mark writes very well, with a sure-handed knowledge of the history and cultures that he comes across, and effortlessly works it into his background descriptions. The book is actually fun to read, and I suspect that if Richard Burton (not the actor!) were alive today, he'd pretty much be writing the same sort of thing. Don't know if I myself will ever make it to Azerbaijan, but I came away from reading this book -- actually reading! -- feeling like it's one of the places I'd really like to see in this world.
Baku or bust!

5-0 out of 5 stars There's a new edition on sale that doesn't seem to show up!
As the author I'll leave it to others to comment on this book, but I'd like readers to be aware that there IS a new edition which has been available since 2001. It has over 140 maps and although the 'with Georgia' was dropped from the title, it retains plenty of coverage on that nation, though still focussing on Azerbaijan. There are reviews on the amazon.co.uk website if you can't find them here.
Enjoy Azerbaijan! ... Read more


177. Japan: True Stories of Life on the Road (Travelers' Tales Guides)
by Donald W. George, Amy G. Carlson
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 188521104X
Catlog: Book (1998-12-01)
Publisher: Travelers' Tales Guides
Sales Rank: 90661
Average Customer Review: 4.69 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars Anthology of impressions
"Japan : True Stories of Life on the Road" is a collection of anecdotal stories told by people who have journeyed to Japan.

The strength of the book lies in the different points of view. Each traveler experienced a different Japan and has different things to say about the country and it's people. Some of the tales are funny, some are serious and some are informative. The book has a nice balance of styles, and there is very little replication. What is it like to go to a Love Hotel? What do you do when you are served living squid for dinner? What is a Kabuki play like? These are the type of questions answered by this book.

It's weakness lies in the fact that many of these tales have been published elsewhere. If you have read many books on Japan, chances are you will have already read many of these stories. Several selections from "Learning to Bow," "Dave Barry does Japan" and "36 Views of Mt. Fuji" are here.

All in all, it is a good book, and worth reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars A nice collection of short travelogues
For the casual travelogue reader (or someone with varried interests in Japan), this book is quite good. But you must keep in mind that all of the stories are short -- many of them were taken from longer travelogues and books. Sometimes I found myself wanting more. And I thought that some of the writings were by unexperienced, travelers with a Western bias and a limited understanding of Japan. But this is a great introdction to experienced Japan travel writers such as Alan Booth and Cathy Davidson. And many of the travelogues in this book (though short) are very well written. Booth's poignent piece about his experience in Hiroshima is wonderful. The short observation by Pico Iyer about English in Japan is downright hilarious, and Michael Ward's detailed description about missing the last train is very detailed and is a common dilema for the foregin traveler in Japan. Yes, I would recommend this book. However if you are truly interested in Japan, I think you would also enjoy some longer travelogues.

5-0 out of 5 stars Like a a japanese meal
Small portions, but so many courses.

This book, consisting of lots of extracts from other peoples writing, serves as a good introduction to the nature of Japan. From the serious to lighthearted, most tales consist of people trying to understand, to reason and just plain survive in a foreign country that seems a little familiar yet very foreign. Stories from groups that consider cleaning toilets a ritual to stolen bikes and strange food.

Each tale is a few pages long. Sometimes either a whole magazine article or chapter from a book, but complete in itself. One feature I liked was small boxed inserts on some pages from another writer which complimented or highlighted the story you were reading. At the end of each tale is an extra excerpt from someone else's story on the same topic.

There's a little bit here for everyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars i just wish all of the stories were new to me...
This is a great book! Like all of the other Travelers' Tales Guides, it is well edited - filled with interesting, finely crafted stories by both well-known and newer writers. Keep in mind that if you've done a lot of reading on Japan (like me reading travel narratives on Japan in preparation for the JET program), you've probably already read some of the books that are excerpted in this book - Cathy Davidson's 36 Views of Mt. Fuji, Learning to Bow by Bruce Feiler, Pico Iyer's The Lady and the Monk... But overall, this is a great introduction to Japan and a nice selection of viewpoints for those of us who have already done some reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars informative but fun to read
The concept for this travelling book is different from the others. Rather than providing readers with hard facts, it condenses essays written by travellers who have been to Japan to give the readers a feel of the country. To be truthful, I enjoy this format thoroughly as there's a human dimension to it. Some essays are compiled by Alan Booth, who is rather well known for his works about Japan & who has since passed away due to cancer but his legacy remains. Anyhow, some of the highlights of the book are writers' experiences in the love hotel & thus, collecting many green hair elastic band along the way; feelling like a Godzilla for crushing into everything due to the space constraint in Japan & the difficulty of adjusting to Japanese custom; skiing & playing beach volleyball INDOOR; visiting to the renowned Ryoanji Temple; disturbing visit to the Peace Park in Hiroshima; groping & fondling problem in the subway & thus, destroying the myth of all Japanese males being gentlemen; significance of cherry blossoms during spring time; a new but boring visit to the Noh theatre for the undiscerning & not to mention the sumo wrestling; the chaotic but harmonious existence among the fishmongers in Tskuji, the biggest fish market in the world; Osaka for having the rebellious spirit, dare to be different from the rest of Japan etc. Because the writers write as they see Japan, not all articles are for Japan but rather, the other Japan that you haven't seen before. I thoroughly enjoy the experience of reading the book as if I were there already. Highly recommended. ... Read more


178. Sam Samurai (Time Warp Trio)
by Jon Scieszka, Adam McCauley
list price: $4.99
our price: $4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0142302139
Catlog: Book (2002-10-01)
Publisher: Puffin Books
Sales Rank: 31653
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

They've conquered the summer reading list, Greek monsters, and Roman gladiators, but a poetry assignment? Stuck writing haikus for English class, Joe, Sam, and Fred take one little break from doing their homework and BAM!-they land smack-dab in the middle of seventeenth-century Japan.But how will the boys search out The Book and find their way back home when they're busy dealing with grumpy samurai warriors with really big swords?

"You say there's nothing for boys to read?Never fear, the Time Warp Trio has arrived." (Booklist)
... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
My son is not reading at this level yet (7 years old) so I read it to him. It's easy and a lot of fun to read. I read to him, at most, 2 chapters a night (chapters are short) and he'd beg me to keep reading! I could get him to finish his homework and get ready for bed quickly if I reminded him about reading "Sam Samurai". When we finished the book he wanted more, so I purchased a couple more in the series. ... Read more


179. The Gem Hunter-True Adventures of an American in Afghanistan
by Gary W. Bowersox, Jonathan Ross, T. M. Jordan, March Davenport
list price: $29.95
our price: $25.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0974732311
Catlog: Book (2004-01-22)
Publisher: Geovision, Inc.
Sales Rank: 381210
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"The Gem Hunter," Gary W. Bowersox, tells his own personal story of over thirty years spent searching for precious gems in the mountains and valleys of rugged Afghanistan. During his many adventures of exploration, danger and intrigue, Gary trades gems and stories with Afghan miners, ethnic people, freedom fighters, government officials, scientists, and on a few occasions, international spies.His account is the true story of a life spent hunting the beautiful rubies, emeralds, sapphires, aquamarines, tourmalines and lapis lazuli of Afghanistan. ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars An amazing and colorful tale
The Gem Hunter: True Adventures Of An American In Afghanistan is the personal memoir of an American man who spent thirty years seeking precious gems in the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan. His encounters with Afghan miners, freedom fighters, government officials, ethnic peoples, scientists, and sometimes even international spies fill this amazing and colorful tale of danger, determination, and the drive to earn a living by literally seeking one's fortune. Photographs, maps, figures, coordinates of gems and minerals in Afghanistan, and much more round out this thoroughly engrossing and engaging true story. ... Read more


180. Among Flowers : A Walk in the Himalaya (National Geographic Directions)
by Jamaica Kincaid
list price: $20.00
our price: $13.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0792265300
Catlog: Book (2005-01-01)
Publisher: National Geographic
Sales Rank: 150674
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Book Description

"This account of a walk I took while gathering the seeds of flowering plants in the foothills of the Himalayas has its origins in my love of the garden¨my love of feeling isolated, of imagining myself all alone in the world and everything unfamiliar, or the familiar being strange, my love of being afraid but at the same time not letting my fear stand in the way."So begins Jamaica Kincaid's adventure into the mountains of Nepal with a small group of botanists. After laborious training and preparation, the group leaves Kathmandu by small plane, into the Annapurna Valley to begin their trek. ("From inside the plane it always seemed to me as if we were about to collide with these sharp green peaks, I especially thought this would be true when I saw one of the pilots reading the newspaper, but Dan said that at the other times he'd flown in this part of the world the pilots always read the newspaper and it did not seem to affect the flight in a bad way.") The temperature was 96 degrees F. on arrival, and the little airport in Tumlingtar was awash in Maoists in camouflage fatigues. "What I was about to do, what I had in mind to do, what I planned for over a year to do, was still a mystery to me. I was on the edge of it though." The group sets off with a large retinue of sherpas and bearers, and Kincaid, in simple, richly detailed prose describes the landscape, the Nepalese villages, the passing trekkers and yak herds. Direct and opinionated ("We decided to call them [other trekkers] the Germans because we didn't like them from the look of them¨and Germans seem to be the one group of people left that cannot be liked because you feel like it."), Kincaid moves easily between closely observed, down-to-earth descriptions of the trek and larger musings, about gardens, nature, seed gathering, home, and family. Negotiations with the Maoists to pass through villages interject dramatic notes ("Dan and I became Canadians. Until then I would never have dreamt of calling myself anything other than American. But the Maoists had told Sunam [head sherpa] that President Powell had just been to Kathmandu and denounced them as terrorists and that had made them very angry with President Powell."). The group presses on, determined in its search for "beautiful plants native to the Himalayas but will grow happily in Vermont or somewhere like that." Eventually they reach a spectacular pass at 15,600 feet and start back. Down at the village of Donge they have another run-in with the Maoists. They "lectured us all through the afternoon into the setting sun, mentioning again the indignity of being called mere terrorists by President Powell of the United States." To lessen the tension, the sherpas produces some Chang, an alcohol made from millet, intoxicating everyone, Kincaid included. At the airport, the Maoists are threatening attack, but the group must wait three days for an airplane. Finally they get off safely. "Days later, in Kathmandu, we heard that the very airport where we had camped for days had been attacked by Maoists and some people had been killed." In Kathmandu another Maoist attack closes the city down. "As we waited to leave this place, I remembered the carpet of gentians¨and the isolated but thick patches of Delphinium abloom in the melting snow. There were the forests of rhododendrons, specimens thirty feet high¨I remembered all that I had seen but I especially remembered all that I had felt. I remembered my fears. I remembered how practically every step was fraught with memories of my past, and the immediate one of my son Harold all alone in Vermont, and my love for it and my fear of losing it." ... Read more


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