Viva Mexico! by Charles Flandrau, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

This was the third book I requested from the editor of ELAND Press for writing an article in their latest newsletter, and I wasn’t disappointed.  I can now understand why some consider it one of the best travel books. The author was a wealthy American with a unique sense of humor and few prejudices except Western uniformity. The book is a journey among the Mexican people and starts in 1904 with a visit to his brother’s coffee plantation in Jalapa, Mexico, with his mother. His three visits were the basis for this profile of rural Mexicans and expatriate gringos, which […]

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Where Was I? A Travel Writer’s Memoir, by Tom Miller, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

I’ve gotten to know the author over the years based on a shared appreciation of iconic writer Moritz Thomsen, who Tom met in Ecuador and our love of travel and travel writing. The Panama Hat Trail is one of my all-time favorite tales, and I was impressed when I learned it took the author two trips and eight months to complete it! My wife, who is Guatemalan, loved How I Learned English, a series of stories of Latinos learning English. Since the author is considered by many as one of the best nonfiction/travel writers, I headed for the chapter on […]

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Road Fever: A High-Speed Travelogue, by Tim Cahill, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

This book seemed a “must-read” after writing “Tschiffley’s Epic Equestrian Ride” and my 15,000-mile trek through Latin America, “Traveling Solo,” which is part of my new book, My Saddest Pleasures. Cahill takes us on a “hellarious” trek with professional long-distance driver Garry Sowerby from the southernmost tip of Tierra del Fuego to the northernmost point of the Dalton Highway in Alaska in a record-breaking 23 ½ days (which allowed them to convince Guinness Believe It Or Not” to underwrite the trip, as well as confirm their record) …..and they convinced corporate sponsor GMC to give the Sierra truck and support […]

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Travels with Myself and Another: Five Journeys from Hell by Martha Gellhorn, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

Martha Gellhorn wanted to be remembered as a novelist. Yet, most people remember her as one of the great war correspondents and for something that infuriated her, her brief marriage to Ernest Hemingway during the Second World War. Although Hemmingway was the unnamed “other” in her second chapter, “Mr. Ma’s Tigers,” when Martha was in China reporting on the Sino-Japanese war. She refused to be a footnote in someone else’s life, nor should she be. Since her death, several biographies and a significant PBS segment about her have been produced. I became aware of her writing while researching the iconic […]

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Time Among the Maya: Travels in Belize, Guatemala and Mexico, by Ronald Wright, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

    Time Among the Maya: Travels in Belize, Guatemala and Mexico  by Ronald Wright Reviewed by Mark D. Walker  I came across this travel classic after writing an essay published in ELAND Press and as a token of appreciation, the editor offered any three of their books. Naturally, my first choice was the book with the cover of the iconic Santo Tomas church of Chichicastenango which is filled with a mix of Indigenous flowers and women in traditional garb (traje), and the smell of incense emanating from the catholic church which often has chickens being sacrificed on the top. […]

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Allegro for Life by Earl Vincent de Berge, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

I met the author and his wife, Suzanne, several years ago over lunch in Phoenix discussing fundraising strategies for an NGO they set up in Guatemala, “Seeds for a Future,” which provides training to impoverished rural women in and around Chocolá on the South coast, to improve family access to food and nutrition. I soon learned that we not only shared a love and appreciation of Guatemala and the Desert Southwest, but that Earl was also a writer and, in his case, a poet as well. I was surprised to learn that he started writing as far back as 1959 […]

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The Iguana Killer: 12 Stories of the Heart, by Alberto Rivero Rios, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  I met Alberto Rios at the Desert Nights Writers Conference at ASU in Tempe several years ago and was impressed by his literary acumen as well as his insights into the Hispanic community. I told him about my connections and interests in Latino culture and asked about participating in his literary interview show, Books & Co., which he hosted for eight years on PBS. He currently hosts an arts interview show “Art in the 48.” He was named Arizona’s first poet laureate in 2013, a post he still holds. I decided to start with one of his best-known books, […]

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On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts by James K. A. Smith Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  My middle daughter handed me this book and said she thought I’d appreciate it, as St. Augustine was offering the hitchhikers guide to the cosmos of wandering hearts—and she was right! The book is a travelogue of the human heart. And a road trip with a prodigal who’s already been where you think you need to go. The book was also timely, as Augustine was a great example of the influence and power of immigrants—he was a “mestizo”—born outside of Carthage in what is today Algeria and wandering the Roman Empire in Italy, which led to what anthropologists call […]

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Million Mile Walker Dispatch, My Special Edition, January, 2022 Issue

  Dear Friends and Colleagues from Around the World, Several author friends have asked what the basis for my passion and concern about Guatemala is, which I answer in my “Special Edition” column in the Arizona Authors Association newsletter. In our Culture Watch, I’ll reflect on the implications of a lack of consensus around the “Build Back Better” plan while the Senate approves a record budget for our military on a bi-partisan basis. Amongst all the craziness, a sense of humor is a must, so I’ve included Just Keep Laughing.  My Writing, Interviews and Reviews, Voices of the Day, and […]

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The Saddest Pleasure, Moritz Thomsen: A Personal Reflection from a Former Peace Corps Volunteer, by Mark D. Walker

News from Eland View this email in your browser Welcome to the Eland Books end of January newsletter. We do hope you’ll enjoy reading it. If you wish to unsubscribe, please use the link in the footer.  The Saddest Pleasure Moritz Thomsen A personal reflection from former Peace Corps Volunteer, Mark D. Walker Moritz Thomsen was an iconic author and figure to his devoted fan base, and before his death in 1991, he had written five extraordinary books. Although we are of different generations and never met, we shared some similar life experiences as Peace Corps volunteers (PCVs) involved with […]

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