Friday, August 14, 2009

91. Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle

By Dervla Murphy
Rated 3.5 Stars
From:  Library via Bookflurries

This book certainly had it's good moments for me.  However I had problems with understanding why anyone in their right mind would start out to make a trip like this in the dead of winter.  The first third of the book was almost a diary of a test of endurance and I couldn't help thinking about how much she was missing by having to concentrate all her energy on surviving rather than enjoying the region she was traveling through.  Maybe if I was more of a bicycle enthusiast instead of a died in the wool tourist I could have appreciated that bit of it more.

The other problem I had was not the author's fault unless you want to say that appreciating the countryside and writing beautiful descriptive prose about the scenery and people she met is not a good thing.  Almost every where she traveled has since been turned into battlegrounds either by regional strife or by invasion of not one, but two super powers (Russia and the UN.)  I imagine that if you traced her steps today you would find everything much different.  That really makes me sad because the people she met who were so nice to her are probably either dead or their lives are so changed that she wouldn't recognize them.  Neither I imagine would she be greeted with such open hospitality.

From Library Journal
This book recounts a trip, taken mostly on bicycle, by a gritty Irishwoman in 1963. Her route was through Yugoslavia, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and ended in New Delhi. She carried a pistol, got sunstroke, and suffered the usual stomach disorders. She endured bad accommodations but reaped much local hospitality, too, including a dinner with the Pakistani president. Most of the book concerns the high mountain country of Afghanistan and Pakistan. First published in England in 1965, the book is neither current, nor quite old enough to be of much historical interest. Nonetheless, it is a spirited account, suitable for larger public library collections. Unfortunately, it lacks illustrations, and the two maps included give us little idea of the remote areas she visited. Harold M. Otness, Southern Oregon State Coll. Lib., Ashland
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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