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Book Title: The Best American Travel Writing 2009|
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Reader ratings: 4.8
The author of the book: Simon Winchester
Edition: Mariner Books
Date of issue: October 8th 2009
ISBN 13: 9780618858668
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 625 KB
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**Heh, 3.5 stars if GoodReads had such a thing**
I tethered with the rating on this one because some of the essays were non-memorable and almost boring, not bothering to uncover the travel experience through narrator experience and setting authenticity.
Yet some were indeed memorable. Like:
1. "A Dip in the Cold" by Lynne Cox: first published in The New Yorker and catalogs her experience while swimming portions of the Northwest Passage, from Greensland to Alaska, using Roald Amundsen's (the endurance athlete who quit medical school to study polar explorations and in 1897, served as a second mate on the Belgian Antarctic Expedition) account of his journey as her guide.Cox, an endurance swimmer, wanted to test whether her body "could tolerate extreme cold." This essay takes you on her journey with setting, dialogue, people, experience.
2. Hotels Rwanda: interesting mixture of voice and scope, as well as juxtaposition of the Rwandan countryside and the tourist experience of the narrator and his group of friends. The descriptions were beautiful and authentic, the history of the country's most turbulent time carefully adhered to in this piece.
3. You Do Not Represent The Government of The United States: Seven American poets, novelists, and journalists traveled the Middle East. As part of Iowa University's International writers program sponsored in part by the U.S. State department, they were expected to tour various universities in the region and have brief meetings with other intellectuals in the area. Though they were clearly warned that in no way, were they to give the impression that they were representing the U.S. government. The most interesting part of the essay for me was the tone: interestingly light and factual, starting with Daniel Alarcon wondering if he even knew what he was doing on the tour, ending with his explanation of the tone he observed within the Middle East, and some facts surrounding places like, the Old City of Damascus for example.
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Read information about the authorSimon Winchester, OBE, is a British writer, journalist and broadcaster who resides in the United States. Through his career at The Guardian, Winchester covered numerous significant events including Bloody Sunday and the Watergate Scandal. As an author, Simon Winchester has written or contributed to over a dozen nonfiction books and authored one novel, and his articles appear in several travel publications including Condé Nast Traveler, Smithsonian Magazine, and National Geographic.
In 1969, Winchester joined The Guardian, first as regional correspondent based in Newcastle upon Tyne, but was later assigned to be the Northern Ireland Correspondent. Winchester's time in Northern Ireland placed him around several events of The Troubles, including the events of Bloody Sunday and the Belfast Hour of Terror.
After leaving Northern Ireland in 1972, Winchester was briefly assigned to Calcutta before becoming The Guardian's American correspondent in Washington, D.C., where Winchester covered news ranging from the end of Richard Nixon's administration to the start of Jimmy Carter's presidency. In 1982, while working as the Chief Foreign Feature Writer for The Sunday Times, Winchester was on location for the invasion of the Falklands Islands by Argentine forces. Suspected of being a spy, Winchester was held as a prisoner in Tierra del Fuego for three months.
Winchester's first book, In Holy Terror, was published by Faber and Faber in 1975. The book drew heavily on his first-hand experiences during the turmoils in Ulster. In 1976, Winchester published his second book, American Heartbeat, which dealt with his personal travels through the American heartland. Winchester's third book, Prison Diary, was a recounting of his imprisonment at Tierra del Fuego during the Falklands War and, as noted by Dr Jules Smith, is responsible for his rise to prominence in the United Kingdom. Throughout the 1980s and most of the 1990s, Winchester produced several travel books, most of which dealt with Asian and Pacific locations including Korea, Hong Kong, and the Yangtze River.
Winchester's first truly successful book was The Professor and the Madman (1998), published by Penguin UK as The Surgeon of Crowthorne. Telling the story of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, the book was a New York Times Best Seller, and Mel Gibson optioned the rights to a film version, likely to be directed by John Boorman.
Though Winchester still writes travel books, he has repeated the narrative non-fiction form he used in The Professor and the Madman several times, many of which ended in books placed on best sellers lists. His 2001 book, The Map that Changed the World, focused on geologist William Smith and was Whichester's second New York Times best seller. The year 2003 saw Winchester release another book on the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, The Meaning of Everything, as well as the best-selling Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded. Winchester followed Krakatoa's volcano with San Francisco's 1906 earthquake in A Crack in the Edge of the World. The Man Who Loved China (2008) retells the life of eccentric Cambridge scholar Joseph Needham, who helped to expose China to the western world. Winchester's latest book, The Alice Behind Wonderland, was released March 11, 2011.
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