Everyone Who Is Gone Is Here: The United States, Central America, and the Making of a Crisis by Jonathan Blitzer, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  A most timely book rated #1 for the history of U.S. immigration, public policy immigration, and the history of Central America. About a third of my forthcoming book focuses on immigration from Guatemala, making this a must-read. The immigration problem is growing exponentially around the world, and solutions are ignored for political benefit and expediency. President Biden’s executive order is designed to close the border, at least through elections. The only serious legislative reform created by both parties was abandoned by the Republicans, who blocked both legislation and funding, which could have diminished the crisis, once again, for political […]

Continue reading

Coronado’s Quest: The Discovery of the American Southwest by Arthur Grove Day, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  I share a fascination with Arthur Grove Day, for the Southwest, with its mix of Native American and Spanish cultures in the desert’s spectacular but harsh environment. He begins this spectacular history with, The American southwest, that region of sunlit mesas and deep-shadowed canyons, of snow-topped continental rooftrees of rock, of sandy flats and high piney parks, is a land that has never been conquered. It is called the Coronado Country.  He published this book in May 1940 when he was at Stanford University to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Coronado’s journey, explored many years before the English colonies […]

Continue reading

The Bad Angel Brothers by Paul Theroux, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  I’ve read and reviewed the last seven books from the “Dean of Travel Writing,” Paul Theroux, and was fortunate enough to obtain one of the early copies of this book. I wrote my latest book, My Saddest Pleasures: 50 Years on the Road, in honor and appreciation of Theroux and another travel writer, “who personally knew and were inspired by Moritz Thomsen and passed their enthusiasm on to me.” Thomsen wrote the Peace Corps experience classic, Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle. Theroux’s book, The Tao of Travel, which celebrates 50 years of travel writing, inspired my series, “The […]

Continue reading

Travelers’ Tales: Central America, Editors Larry Habegger and Natanya Pearlman, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  Fellow travel writer Tom Miller warned me about the book when he learned I was working on an essay about Central America, The Guatemala Reader, “Mark –Careful! You don’t want to duplicate anything from Travelers’ Tales Central America.” When I reviewed the table of contents, I realized my book would be very different, as I’d be the author of all the stories focused on one country, while in this book, the stories cover Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Panama, as well as Guatemala. Also, all the travel writers like Paul Theroux, Ronald Wright, and Tim Cahill […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading