The Hidden Europe

The Hidden Europe

What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us

Book - 2012
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Publisher: [Burlingame, Calif.] : WanderLearn Press, c2012
Edition: 1.0 ed
ISBN: 9780976581222
Branch Call Number: 947 Tapo
Characteristics: 736 p., [16] p. of col. plates : ill. (chiefly col.), maps ; 23 cm


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Sophie_Library Sep 18, 2019

Had high hopes for this book, which has such a great concept behind it, but have been disappointed. The travel aspects are interesting - although can be repetitive and with a very changeable timeline that causes confusion in the author's self-referential description of his journey. What is more tiresome is the author's personal voice. If he meets a woman, he immediately needs to describe her body type, how sexy she is, and how closely she resembles a supermodel. He must then describe how every woman flirts with him, and most cannot wait to invite him into one sexual encounter or another. I am no prude, but it strains credulity that he is irresistible to each and every woman in Eastern Europe. Additionally, although I enjoyed the open-minded tone of his introduction and looked forward to each chapter's list of what we can all learn from these countries, in practice he is unable to truly concede that American-style capitalism might not be the answer to all the world's problems, and he is ultimately dismissive of any other approaches. Occasionally his tone veers away from poking fun, and closer to bigotry. Bill Bryson/Paul Theroux/Jan Morris he is not. He spends a great deal of time complaining that everything is "too expensive", and rather than reflect on how that might affect the local economy, he repeatedly explains that everything is communism's fault (and then writes it in a book to discourage other tourists from going there and spending “too much” money). Much of his broader economic perspective is already quite dated. Would be surprised if this were published today - what a difference a few years can make. Still love the concept, delighted with what knowledge there was, but it was fairly hard work to get at it, and desperately needed a firm edit. Hope there's a fresher travel writer who would like to give the idea a try, it deserves a better author. Baffled by the glowing Library Journal review. Would recommend instead "Travel as a Political Act" (2018 edition) by Rick Steves - an author who seems mild-mannered but packs more of a revolutionary punch, and is genuinely interested in other places and other people (and not just the ones that look like supermodels).


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