Tag Archives: Travel literture

Tip of the Iceberg: My 3,000-Mile Journey Around Wild Alaska, the Last Great American Frontier by Mark Adams

Tip of the Iceberg: My 3,000-Mile Journey Around Wild Alaska, the Last Great American Frontier by Mark Adams

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From the acclaimed, bestselling author of Turn Right at Machu Picchu, a fascinating and funny journey into Alaska, America’s last frontier, retracing the historic 1899 Harriman Expedition.

In 1899, railroad magnate Edward H. Harriman organized a most unusual summer voyage to the wilds of Alaska: He converted a steamship into a luxury “floating university,” populated by some of America’s best and brightest scientists and writers, including the anti-capitalist eco-prophet John Muir. Those aboard encountered a land of immeasurable beauty and impending environmental calamity. More than a hundred years later, Alaska is still America’s most sublime wilderness, both the lure that draws a million tourists annually on Inside Passage cruises and a natural resources larder waiting to be raided. As ever, it remains a magnet for weirdos and dreamers.

Armed with Dramamine and an industrial-strength mosquito net, Mark Adams sets out to retrace the 1899 expedition. Using the state’s intricate public ferry system, the Alaska Marine Highway System, Adams travels three thousand miles, following the George W. Elder‘s itinerary north through Wrangell, Juneau, and Glacier Bay, then continuing west into the colder and stranger regions of the Aleutians and the Arctic Circle. Along the way, he encounters dozens of unusual characters (and a couple of very hungry bears) and investigates how lessons learned in 1899 might relate to Alaska’s current struggles in adapting to climate change.

Mark Adams is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Meet Me in Atlantis and Turn Right at Machu Picchu. A writer for many national magazines, including GQ, Men’s Journal, and New York, he lives near New York City with his wife and children.

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The Alps: A Human History from Hannibal to Heidi and Beyond

The AlpsThe Alps: A Human History from Hannibal to Heidi and Beyond by Stephen O’Shea

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For centuries the Alps have seen the march of armies, the flow of pilgrims and Crusaders, the feats of mountaineers, and the dreams of engineers?and some 14 million people live among their peaks today. In The Alps, Stephen O’Shea takes readers up and down these majestic mountains, battling his own fear of heights to journey through a 500-mile arc across France, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, Austria, and Slovenia.

O’Shea, whose style has been hailed for its “engaging combination of candid first-person travel writing and absorbing historical narrative” (Chicago Sun-Times), whisks readers along more than 2,000 years of Alpine history. As he travels pass-by-pass through the mountains, he tells great stories of those (real and imagined) who have passed before him, from Hannibal to Hitler, Frankenstein’s monster to Sherlock Holmes, Napoleon to Nietzsche, William Tell to James Bond. He explores the circumstances behind Hannibal and his elephants’ famous crossing in 218 BCE; he reveals how the Alps have profoundly influenced culture from Heidi to The Sound of Music; and he visits iconic sites, including the Reichenbach Falls, where Arthur Conan Doyle staged Sherlock Holmes’s death scene with Professor Moriarty; Caporetto, the bloody site of the Italians’ retreat in World War I; and the Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s aerie of a vacation home.

O’Shea delves into Alpine myths and legends, such as the lopsided legs of the dahu, the fictitious goatlike creature of the mountains, and reveals why the beloved St. Bernard dog is so often depicted with a cask hanging below its neck. Throughout, he immerses himself in the communities he visits, engagingly recounting his adventures with contemporary road trippers, watchmakers, salt miners, cable-car operators, and yodelers.

“I would follow Stephen O’Shea anywhere he travels, and this book is a real adventure, both geographically and intellectually–an eloquent and engaging exploration that shows how and why these dizzy peaks have for centuries been at the forefront of the European cultural imagination.”–Ross King, best-selling author of Brunelleschi’s Dome.

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Dear Bob and Sue – One couples journey through the national parks

Dear Bob & SueDear Bob and Sue by Matt Smith and Karen Smith

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Dear Bob and Sue is the story of Matt and Karen Smith’s journey to all 59 U.S. National Parks. Written in a series of emails to their friends, Bob and Sue, they describe their sense of awe in exploring our national parks, and share humorous and quirky observations. The writing style is inspired by Bill Bryson’s work and the couple’s often contrasting impressions of the parks makes for many laugh out loud moments. The national parks are among the most stunning places in America – pristine wilderness, geologic wonders, and magnificent wildlife – places everyone should put on their must-see-before-I-die list. Matt and Karen take you along as they visit them all. Unlike a traditional guidebook, this is one couple’s perspective on the joys and challenges of traveling together. This is a story of discovery and adventure: chased by a grizzly, pushed off the trail by big horn sheep, they even survived a mid-air plane collision.

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Green Hills of Africa by Ernest Hemingway

Green Hills of AfricaGreen Hills of Africa by Ernest Hemingway

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The most intimate and elaborately enhanced addition to the Hemingway Library series: Hemingway’s memoir of his safari across the Serengeti presented with archival material from the Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Library and with the never-before-published safari journal of Hemingway’s second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer.
When it was first published in 1935, “The New York Times” called “Green Hills of Africa,” The best-written story of big-game hunting anywhere, Hemingway’s evocative account of his safari through East Africa with his wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, captures his fascination with big-game hunting. In examining the grace of the chase and the ferocity of the kill, Hemingway looks inward, seeking to explain the lure of the hunt and the primal undercurrent that comes alive on the plains of Africa. “Green Hills of Africa” is also an impassioned portrait of the glory of the African landscape and the beauty of a wilderness that was, even then, being threatened by the incursions of man.
This new Hemingway Library Edition offers a fresh perspective on Hemingway’s classic travelogue, with a personal foreword by Patrick Hemingway, the author’s sole surviving son, who spent many years as a professional hunter in East Africa; a new introduction by Sean Hemingway, grandson of the author; and, published for the first time in its entirety, the African journal of Hemingway’s wife, Pauline, which offers an intimate glimpse into thoughts and experiences that shaped her husband’s craft.

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Lingo: Around Europe in Sixty Languages

LingoLingo: Around Europe in Sixty Languages by Gaston Dorren

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Whether you’re a frequent visitor to Europe or just an armchair traveler, the surprising and extraordinary stories in Lingo will forever change the way you think about the continent, and may even make you want to learn a new language.

Lingo spins the reader on a whirlwind tour of sixty European languages and dialects, sharing quirky moments from their histories and exploring their commonalities and differences. Most European languages are descended from a single ancestor, a language not unlike Sanskrit known as Proto-Indo-European (or PIE for short), but the continent’s ever-changing borders and cultures have given rise to a linguistic and cultural diversity that is too often forgotten in discussions of Europe as a political entity. Lingo takes us into today’s remote mountain villages of Switzerland, where Romansh is still the lingua franca, to formerly Soviet Belarus, a country whose language was Russified by the Bolsheviks, to Sweden, where up until the 1960s polite speaking conventions required that one never use the word “you” in conversation, leading to tiptoeing questions of the form: “Would herr generaldirektör Rexed like a biscuit?”

Spanning six millenia and sixty languages in bite-size chapters, Lingo is a hilarious and highly edifying exploration of how Europe speaks.

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