Sunday, June 11, 2006

Traveling by Book

Well when a Sagittarius can't do much traveling due to circumstances, then they tend to do traveling by book. Thus, I picked up Robert D. Kaplan's The Ends of the Earth: A Journey at the Dawn of the Twenty-first Century .
A travel book, but more than that, Kaplan visits places most travelers aren't going to at the moment. Here's the mini review from, which was originally from Publishers Weekly:

" After his recent travels through troubled southeastern Europe, Kaplan (Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History) has taken on an even more ambitious itinerary-some of the most inhospitable regions of the globe, both geographically and politically. Starting in West Africa, where he finds that border regions are so porous as to make the concept of countries "largely meaningless," he braves the Egyptian desert, then advances through Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, sprawling Turkestan, China and Pakistan and on through Southeast Asia. He advises at the outset that his book "folds international studies into a travelogue." Readers looking for an easy ride had better fasten their seat belts, for the author treats us to all sorts of speculation on the condition of humankind as the century is about to turn, along with generous dollops of history. Intermingled with graphic descriptions of exotic locales are highly personal ruminations, one of the most interesting of which is that in some of these lands, "the village came to the city and . . . vanquished it" by overwhelming modern urban middle-class values. A challenging and engrossing read."

I had been reading Constantine the Great, by Michael Grant, and Faust Theater of the World, and Struggle for Europe by Chester Wilmot, but once I got Ends of the Earth, it shot to the top of my reading stack so to speak.

Hard to put down. I have read several of Robert Kaplans books and I find them all engrossing and pleasurable reads. He brings valuable insights from his study of history , literature and art, to every country he visits.

One of the chapters which describes his adventures in Sinkiang, is called "Strategic Hippie Routes"; it would seem that back in 1994, when he was trying to get to Kashgar, the only westerners he ran into in the remote areas of Sinkiang were backpacking neo-hippies.

If I haven't been blogging as much, is I get involved in some good summer reading, or as I say traveling by books.

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