Book Review – Travel: Ghost Train to the Eastern Star: On the Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar

Ghost Train to the Eastern Star: On the Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar By Paul Theroux Reviewed by Mark D. Walker Follow Theroux as he embarks on a 25,000-mile epic journey through Asia retracing the steps of a trip he’d taken thirty years before. Since then, Theroux records phenomenal change. The Soviet Union has collapsed and China has risen; India grows, while Burma is mothered by a military dictatorship and, most interestingly, Vietnam flourished despite the havoc the United States had unleashed on it. No one describes the texture, sights, sounds and the flavors of this changing landscape better […]

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Book Review – Travel: Figures in a Landscape: People and Places Essays: 2001-2016

Figures in a Landscape: People and Places Essays: 2001-2016 By Paul Theroux Reviewed by Mark D. Walker The “Godfather of contemporary travel writing” has probably chronicled more places in the world than almost any other author. The second page of his book lists the forty Theroux publication which gives one a sense of what a prolific writer he is. This is his third volume of essays, following Sunrise with Seamonsters (1984) and Fresh Air Fiend (2001) for a total of 134 essays written over 53 years. This new collection of essays is a veritable cornucopia of sights characters and experiences […]

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Book Review- Travel: The Farm on the River of Emeralds

The Farm on the River of Emeralds By Moritz Thomsen Reviewed by Mark D. Walker While perusing my favorite books above my desk I realized that I’d never reviewed a book of my favorite Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Moritz Thomsen. Although he is best known for probably the most read Returned Peace Corps Volunteer book, Living Poor, published in 1969, it is correctly rated as one of the best Returned Peace Corps Volunteer memoirs of all time. my favorite is The Farm on the River of Emeralds, is the sequel and tells a tale of endless reverses as a part […]

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Book Review – Travel: Enchantment and Exploitation: The Life and Hard Times of a New Mexico Mountain Range

Enchantment and Exploitation: The Life and Hard Times of a New Mexico Mountain Range By William deBuys Reviewed by Mark D. Walker For years, I’ve taken my children from Santa Fe to Taos on the “high road” (highway 76), stopping off at the “Rancho de Chimayo” for traditional New Mexican food, including those light “sopapillas” the kids would fill with honey, and from there we’d visit the Santuario de Chimayo, one of New Mexico’s most beautiful adobe chapels It is said to be built on a site where the earth itself has the power to heal ailments and infirmities of […]

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Book Review – Travel: Bad News from a Black Coast

Bad News from a Black Coast By Moritz Thomsen Reviewed by Mark D. Walker Like many Thomsen enthusiasts, I’ve wondered where his last, elusive manuscript was, and how it might come to be published, bringing the total number of his travelogue classics to five. So when it suddenly appeared on Amazon, published, I jumped with joy. At last, 28 years after his death! And I was not disappointed; it was worth the wait. Thomsen began talking about this book in 1980 and sent some of the manuscript to fellow Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and author, Christopher West Davis, who told […]

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Book Review – Travel: Arizona and New Mexico 25 Scenic Side Trips

Arizona and New Mexico 25 Scenic Side Trips By Rick Quinn Reviewed by Mark D. Walker After several months of “hunkering down” at home in order to avoid the coronavirus, I’m itching to start traveling again! I picked this book up at a Heard Museum event a number of months ago, as I was attracted by the amazing maps and photos of the desert Southwest—and I needed inspiration for day trips out of Phoenix in order to keep my sanity. I also wanted to begin planning for future trips starting later this summer. I met the author, Rick Quinn, at […]

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