Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Americas and the tallest mountain in the world outside of the Himalayas. Located in the Andes Mountains of Argentina, near the city of Mendoza, Aconcagua has been luring European mountain climbers since 1883, when a German ge-ologist nearly reached the mountain’s summit. (A Swiss climber finally made the ascent in 1897.) In this fascinating book, Joy Logan explores the many impacts of mountaineering’s “discovery” of Aconcagua including its effect on how local indigenous history is understood. The consequences still resonate today, as the region has become a magnet for “adventure travelers,” with about 7,000 climbers and trekkers from all over the world visiting each year.
Having done fieldwork on Aconcagua for six years, Logan offers keen insights into how the invention of mountaineering in the nineteenth century—and adventure tourism a century later—have both shaped and been shaped by local and global cultural narratives. She examines the roles and functions of mountain guides, especially in regard to notions of gender and nation; re-reads the mountaineering stories forged by explorers, scientists, tourism officials, and the gear industry; and considers the distinctions between foreign and Argentine climbers (some of whom are celebrities in their own right).
In Logan’s revealing analysis, Aconcagua is emblematic of the tensions produced by modernity, nation-building, tourism development, and re-ethnification. The evolution of mountain climbing on Aconcagua registers seismic shifts in attitudes toward adventure, the national, and the global. With an eye for detail and a flair for description, Logan invites her readers onto the mountain and into the lives it supports.
After unearthing her great-grandparents’ diaries, Mary Ann Hooper set out on a journey to retrace their 1871 trip across the United States on the newly-opened Transcontinental Railroad—via Chicago, just destroyed by the Great Fire, then across the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains to the Golden City of San Francisco. Filled with rich details of time, place, and culture, Mary Ann’s thoughtful and compelling narrative is both a re-creation of a family journey and a thoughtful account of how the American West has changed over the last 150 years.
Using the common thread of the same train trip across the American landscape, she weaves together the two stories—her great grandparents, Charles and Fannie Crosby’s leisurely Victorian tourist trip described in both their diaries—and her own trip. Mary Ann’s adventurous and determined voice fills the pages with entertaining encounters on the train, escapades on her folding bike, and her reflections on her birth country and her own life story.
During her journey, she discovers the stories of her 1950s childhood reflect a “Wild West” at odds with the West her great-grandparents record in their diaries, leading her to uncover more of the real and meatier history of the American West—going through conquest, rapid settlement, and economic development. As Mary Ann fulfills her quest to understand better why glorified myths were created to describe the Wild West of her childhood, and reflects on the pitfalls of what “progress” is doing to the environment, she is left with a much bigger question: Can we transform our way of doing things quickly enough to stop our much-loved West becoming an uninhabitable desert?
Biking from Oregon to Maine is no small feat, especially for two newly retired women who carry everything they need for three months, powered only by the strength of their legs and a desire for adventure. Alice Honeywell and Bobbi Montgomery invite readers to follow their ride by bicycle across the United States, as they face scorching sun, driving rain, buffeting winds, equipment failures, killer hills, wild fires, and even a plague of grasshoppers.
As Alice and Bobbi pedal along their 3,600-mile journey, they test and deepen their friendship, defy their aches and pains, experience the vast and varied beauties of their country, and discover the challenges and satisfaction of a scaled-down lifestyle. And, they encounter unfailing generosity from people they meet—from the prayers of a North Dakota woman for their safekeeping, to the offer of a house in Michigan, to invitations for dinner and a place to sleep at stops all along the way. And there are incidents to laugh over, too, such as the bewildered woman who asked them, “Well, but where do you pack your dresses?”
Ride along with Alice and Bobbi as they embrace retirement with gusto and live their dream.
Winner (Gold Medalist), Travel Essays, Foreword Magazine’s Books of the Year
Across the Shaman’s River is the story of one of Alaska’s last Native American strongholds, a Tlingit community closed off for a century until a fateful encounter between a shaman, a preacher, and John Muir.
Tucked in the corner of Southeast Alaska, the Tlingits had successfully warded off the Anglo influences that had swept into other corners of the territory. This tribe was viewed by European and American outsiders as the last wild tribe and a frustrating impediment to access. Missionaries and prospectors alike had widely failed to bring the Tlingit into their power. Yet, when John Muir arrived in 1879, accompanied by a fiery preacher, it only took a speech about “brotherhood”—and some encouragement from the revered local shaman Skandoo’o—to finally transform these “hostile heathens.”
Using Muir’s original journal entries, as well as historic writings of explorers juxtaposed with insights from contemporary tribal descendants, Across the Shaman’s River reveals how Muir’s famous canoe journey changed the course of history and had profound consequences on the region’s Native Americans.
Adventures in Africa
Gianni Celati University of Chicago Press, 2000 Library of Congress DT551.27.C4513 2000 | Dewey Decimal 916.60433
"In the life of a tourist who travels a bit far, I think that at a certain point, a question necessarily arises: 'But what have I come here for?' A question that sets in motion a great cinema of justification to oneself, so that one doesn't have to seriously say to oneself: 'I'm here doing nothing.'"
In 1997 the celebrated Italian novelist and essayist Gianni Celati accompanied his friend, filmmaker Jean Talon, on a journey to West Africa which took them from Mali to Senegal and Mauritania. The two had been hoping to research a documentary about Dogon priests, but frustrated by red tape, their voyage became instead a touristic adventure. The vulnerable, prickly, insightful Celati kept notebooks of the journey, now translated by Adria Bernardi as Adventures in Africa. Celati is the privileged traveler, overwhelmed by customs he doesn't understand, always at the mercy of others who are trying to sell him something he doesn't want to buy, and aware of himself as the Tourist who is always a little disoriented and at the center of the continual misadventures that are at the heart of travel.
Celati's book is both a travelogue in the European tradition and a trenchant meditation on what it means to be a tourist. Celati learns to surrender to the chaos of West Africa and in the process produces a work of touching and comic descriptions, in the lucid and ironic prose that is his hallmark. Hailed as one of the best travelogues on Africa ever written and awarded the first Zerilli-Marimó prize, Adventures in Africa is a modest yet profound account of the utter discombobulation of travel.
In Adventures of a Deaf-Mute, Deaf New Englander William B. Swett recounts his adventures in the White Mountains of New Hampshire in the late 1860s. Given to us in short, energetic episodes, Swett tells daring stories of narrow escapes from death and other perilous experiences during his time as a handyman and guide at the Profile House, a hotel named for the nearby Old Man of the Mountain rock formation. A popular destination, the hotel attracted myriad guests, and Swett’s tales of rugged endurance are accompanied by keen observations of the people he meets.
Confident in his identity as a Deaf “mute,” he notes with wry humor the varied perceptions of deafness that he encounters. As a signing Deaf person from a prominent multigenerational Deaf family, he counters negative stereotypes with generosity and a smart wit. He takes pride in his physical abilities, which he showcases through various stunts and arduous treks in the wilderness. However, Swett’s writing also reveals a deep awareness of the fragility and precariousness of life. This is a portrait of a man testing his physical and emotional limits, written from the vantage point of someone who is no longer a young man but is still very much in the prime of his life.
This collection also includes “Mr. Swett and His Diorama,” an article from 1859 in which Swett describes his miniature recreation of the Battle of Lexington, as well as Manual Alphabets, a pamphlet published in 1875 on the history of manual alphabets that includes short biographies of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc, two pioneers of Deaf education in the United States. The work is accompanied by a new introduction that offers a reflection on Swett’s life and the time in which he lived.
In June 1960, a young faculty wife named Alzada Kistner and her husband David, a promising entomologist, left their 18-month old daughter in the care of relatives and began what was to be a four month scientific expedition in the Belgian Congo. Three weeks after their arrival, the country was gripped by a violent revolution trapping the Kistners in its midst. Despite having to find their way out of numerous life-threatening situations, the Kistners were not to be dissuaded. An emergency airlift by the United States Air Force brought them to safety in Kenya where they continued their field work.Thus began three decades of adventures in science. In An Affair with Africa, Alzada Kistner describes her family's African experience -- the five expeditions they took beginning with the trip to the Belgian Congo in 1960 and ending in 1972-73 with a nine-month excursion across southern Africa. From hunching over columns of ants for hours on end while seven months pregnant to eating dinner next to Idi Amin, Kistner provides a lively and humor-filled account of the human side of scientific discovery. Her wonderfully detailed stories clearly show why, despite hardship and danger -- and contrary to all of society's expectations -- she could not forsake accompanying her husband on his expeditions, and, to this day, continues to find the world "endlessly beckoning, a lively bubbling cauldron of questions and intrigue."In the spirit of Beryl Markham's West with the Night and Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa, An Affair with Africa shares with readers the thoughts and experiences of a remarkable woman, one whose unquenchable thirst for adventure led her into a series of almost unimaginable situations. Readers -- from armchair travelers fascinated by stories of Africa to scientists familiar with the Kistners's work but unaware of the lengths to which they went to gather their data -- will find An Affair with Africa a rare treasure.
Nineteenth-century American travel literature provides fascinating glimpses into the lives of ordinary people and into the history of the nation's settlement. Reuben Gold Thwaites's Afloat on the Ohio is a fine example of the genre, rich in Ohio River personalities, legends, and history as seen through Thwaites's eyes. His six-week journey by skiff covered a thousand miles from Redstone, Pennsylvania, to Cairo, Illinois, where the Ohio River meets the Mississippi. Thwaites's voyage echoes those taken by early explorers, pioneers, and settlers who opened up the West through river travel from the East.
This edition is a reprinting of the original 1897 edition.
This aptly named book contains 22 selections by John Muir, John McPhee, Barry Lopez, and others on Alaska and to some extent on the neighboring Yukon, accompanied by a small but evocative collection of photographs of Eskimos. The pieces, most of which are top-notch, vividly describe the harsh climate, the Arctic and sub-Arctic habitats, and the animals of Alaska, and tell the stories of the Native Americans and others who have made their home or worked in the North. This excellent sampler of some of the best writing on Alaska is recommended for academic and, especially, public libraries.
"All the wild and lonely places, the mountain springs are called now. They were not lonely or wild places in the past days. They were the homes of my people." --Chief Francisco Patencio, the Cahuilla of Palm Springs The Anza-Borrego Desert on California's southern border is a remote and harsh landscape, what author Lawrence Hogue calls "a land of dreams and nightmares, where the waking world meets the fantastic shapes and bent forms of imagination." In a country so sere and rugged, it's easy to imagine that no one has ever set foot there -- a wilderness waiting to be explored. Yet for thousands of years, the land was home to the Cahuilla and Kumeyaay Indians, who, far from being the "noble savages" of European imagination, served as active caretakers of the land that sustained them, changing it in countless ways and adapting it to their own needs as they adapted to it.In All the Wild and Lonely Places, Lawrence Hogue offers a thoughtful and evocative portrait of Anza-Borrego and of the people who have lived there, both original inhabitants and Spanish and American newcomers -- soldiers, Forty-Niners, cowboys, canal-builders, naturalists, recreationists, and restorationists. We follow along with the author on a series of excursions into the desert, each time learning more about the region's history and why it calls into question deeply held beliefs about "untouched" nature. And we join him in considering the implications of those revelations for how we think about the land that surrounds us, and how we use and care for that land."We could persist in seeing the desert as an emptiness, a place hostile to humans, a pristine wilderness," Hogue writes. "But it's better to see this as a place where ancient peoples tried to make their homes, and succeeded. We can learn from what they did here, and use that knowledge to reinvigorate our concept of wildness. Humans are part of nature; it's still nature, even when we change it."
Long frequented by pirates and haunted by pariahs, Baja California has become a favorite destination for whale watchers, hikers, and scuba divers. For Bruce Berger it has been more. In Almost an Island, he takes readers beyond the Baja of guidebooks and offers a wildly entertaining look at the real Baja California.
Eight hundred miles long, Baja California is the remotest region of the Sonoran desert, a land of volcanic cliffs, glistening beaches, fantastical boojum trees, and some of the greatest primitive murals in the Western Hemisphere. In Almost an Island, Berger recounts tales from his three decades in this extraordinary place, enriching his account with the peninsula's history, its politics, and its probable future—rendering a striking panorama of this land so close to the United States, so famous, and so little known.
Readers will meet a cast of characters as eccentric as the place itself: Brandy, who ranges the desert in a sand buggy while breathing from an oxygen tank; Katie, the chanteuse; nuns illegally raising pigs. They will encounter the tourist madness of a total eclipse, the story of the heir to an oasis, a musical Mata Hari, rare pronghorn antelope, and a pet tarantula. In prose as glittering as this desert engulfed by the sea, Almost an Island is a fascinating journey into the human heart of a spectacular land.
This volume is the first-ever English translation of the memoirs of Karl Heller, a twenty-year-old aspiring Austrian botanist who traveled to Mexico in 1845 to collect specimens. He passed through the Caribbean, lived for a time in the mountains of Veracruz, and journeyed to Mexico City through the cities of Puebla and Cholula. After a brief residence in the capital, Heller moved westward to examine the volcanoes and silver mines near Toluca.
When the United States invaded Mexico in 1846–47 conditions became chaotic, and the enterprising botanist was forced to flee to Yucatán. Heller lived in the port city of Campeche, but visited Mèrida, the ruins of Uxmal, and the remote southern area of the Champotòn River."
From there Heller, traveling by canoe, journeyed through southern Tabasco and northern Chiapas and finally returned to Vienna through Cuba and the United States bringing back thousands of samples of Mexican plants and animals.
Heller's account is one of the few documents we have from travelers who visited Mexico in this period, and it is particularly useful in describing conditions outside the capital of Mexico City.
In 1853 Heller published his German-language account as Reisen in Mexiko, but the work has remained virtually unknown to English or Spanish readers. This edition now provides a complete, annotated, and highly readable translation.
Alone on the Colorado
Harold H. Leich University of Utah Press, 2019 Library of Congress F788 | Dewey Decimal 917.91304
Harold Leich set out on a westward journey in the summer of 1933. His travel narrative details his river trip down the Yellowstone River and the first descent by boat of the upper Colorado River from Grand Lake, Colorado, through Cataract Canyon, Utah. He was the first to push through this entire upper section, running rapids that had never known a paddle, rebuilding his kayak along the riverbanks, camping rough, and meeting ranchers and railroad workers in these remote regions. Leich’s sudden change of fortune in Cataract Canyon, in the most isolated part of Utah, and his soul searching as he worked his way out of a perilous situation, will speak to anyone who has ventured beyond roads and trails and faced potential tragedy alone.
Alone on the Colorado takes readers on the adventure of running rivers and riding the rails, while painting a unique and optimistic portrait of Depression-era America.
Amazons: A Love Story
E. J. Levy University of Missouri Press, 2012 Library of Congress PS3612.E93685A83 2012 | Dewey Decimal 918.104
When E.J. Levy arrived in northern Brazil on a fellowship from Yale at the age of 21, she was hoping to help save the Amazon rain forest; she didn’t realize she would soon have to save herself.
Amazons: A Love Story recounts an idealistic young woman’s coming of age against the backdrop of the magnificent rain forest and exotic city of Salvador. This elegant and sharp-eyed memoir explores the interaction of the many forces fueling deforestation—examining the ecological, economic, social, and spiritual costs of ill-conceived development—with the myriad ones that shape young women’s maturation.
Sent to Salvador (often called the “soul of Brazil” for its rich Afro-Brazilian culture), a city far from the rain forest, Levy befriends two young Brazilians, Nel, a brilliant economics student who is estranged from her family for mysterious reasons, and Isa, a gorgeous gold digger. When the university closes due to a strike, none of them can guess what will come of their ambitions. Levy’s course of study changes: she takes up capoeira, enters cooking school (making foods praised in Brazilian literature as almost magical elixirs), gains fluency in Portuguese and the ways of street life, and learns other, more painful lessons—she is raped, and her best friend becomes a prostitute.
When Levy finally reaches the Amazon, her courage—and her safety—are further tested: on a barefoot hike through the jungle one night to collect tadpoles, she encounters fist-sized spiders, swimming snakes, and crocodiles. When allergies to the antimalarial drugs meant to protect her prove life-threatening, she discovers that sometimes the greatest threat we face is ourselves. Eventually, her work as a “cartographer of loss,” charting deforestation, leads her to realize that our relationships to nature and to our bodies are linked, that we must transcend the logic of commodification if we are to save both wilderness and ourselves.
The Amazon is a perennially fascinating subject, alluring and frightening, a site of cultural projection and commercial ambition, of fantasies and violence. Amazons offers an intimate look at urgent global issues that affect us all, including the too-often abstract question of rain forest loss. Levy illuminates the burgeoning sex-tourism trade in Brazil, renewed environmental threats, global warming, and the consequences of putting a price on nature. Accounts of the region have most often been by and about men, but Amazons offers a fresh approach, interweaving a personal feminist narrative with an urgent ecological one. In the tradition of Terry Tempest Williams, this timely, compelling, and eloquent memoir will appeal to those interested in literary nonfiction, travel writing, and women’s and environmental issues.
Travel gets us from one place to another—often with wonderful attendant enjoyment–but exploration makes us understand our travel, the places we travel to—and ourselves. The essays in this collection constitute a major step toward this understanding. They open up new areas for concern and draw many valuable insights and conclusions.
America, New Mexico
Robert Leonard Reid University of Arizona Press, 1998 Library of Congress F801.2.R45 1998 | Dewey Decimal 917.90453
New Mexico is a land with two faces. It is a land of enchantment, legendary for its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. But it is also a land of paradox. In America, New Mexico, Robert Leonard Reid explores deep inside New Mexico's landscape to find the real New Mexico—with all of its gifts and challenges—within. Having traveled and hiked countless miles throughout the state, Reid knows New Mexico's breathtaking landscape intimately. But he knows the human landscape as well: its artists and poets, medicine men and businessmen, preachers and politicians, Hispanics and Anglos. He knows that amid the glittering mansions of Santa Fe there are homeless shelters, that the Indians of myth and legend combat alcoholism and poverty, and that toxic waste lurks beneath a land of almost surreal beauty. America, New Mexico is a book about land, sky, and hope by a writer whose passion and inspiring prose invite us to see the promise and possibilities of reconnecting with the natural world. It is unflinching in its depiction of the adversities facing New Mexicans and indeed all Americans. But above all, it searches behind and beyond these troubling issues to find, standing staunchly against them, a quiet and unshakable confidence rooted in New Mexico's natural world. For anyone who has ever been moved by the incomparable beauty of New Mexico, for anyone concerned with the landscape in which all Americans live, America, New Mexico is an unforgettable book.
Gaudy, intoxicating, bright, loud, lucrative, and altogether American: they are our nation's boardwalks. The boardwalk was first invented for utilitarian reasons-so that beach-goers could stroll along the shore in their evening wear without tracking sand into train cars or hotel lobbies. But it wasn't long before the imagination of a country just becoming acquainted with the concept of leisure time transformed the boardwalk into something much more.
In America's Boardwalks, James Lilliefors takes us on a journey along the edges of the country to twelve of its most famous beach towns. Starting in the Northeast with Coney Island, Asbury Park, Atlantic City, Wildwood, and Cape May, we continue south to Rehoboth Beach; Ocean City, Maryland; Virginia Beach; Myrtle Beach; and Daytona Beach. In California, we explore the exotic scenes at Venice Beach and Santa Cruz. Lilliefors traces each town's history from the building of a boardwalk to what are frequently ambitious plans to revitalize and redevelop today. In every case, he shows how the boardwalk has been integral to the area's economic growth, status, and appeal.
This richly documented and illustrated tale, however, tells more than the story of the birth and development of boardwalks. Weaving together observations and conversations with business owners, planners, and strollers themselves, Lilliefors reveals the vitality of the boardwalk as an idea, rather than just as a place. Boardwalks, he argues, are living monuments to American enterprise, a young country's founding dreams, and its unwavering optimism.
Born at a time when the country was busy rebuilding and reinventing itself as an industrial and economic power, these lively seaside destinations seemed to herald a new life of relaxation, recreation, and middle-class prosperity. On the nation's first boardwalk in Atlantic City, you could find everything from a "home of the future," to diving horses, kangaroo boxing, and the world's largest typewriter. With no admission gate, boardwalks were also a thoroughly democratic idea, inviting visitors from all social and economic groups to join the same parade.
Even today, these glittering coastal hubs, with their always unique blends of people, sea spray, shops, inventions, and oddities remain a last frontier-a testament to the power of individuality in an increasingly homogenized world. From Thrasher's French fries in Ocean City to Mack's Pizza in Wildwood and Nathan's hot dogs in Coney Island, people still visit these resorts for products and pleasures that break the otherwise mundane stream of chain restaurants and retailers. Evoking the spirit, tastes, smells, and sounds that have become a beloved part of our nostalgia and that continue to lure new generations, this book is a deserved tribute to America's iconic seaside wonders.
Among the Afghans
Arthur Bonner Duke University Press, 1987 Library of Congress DS371.2.B65 1987 | Dewey Decimal 958.1044
Arthur Bonner, a New York Times reporter with long experience as a foreign correspondent in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, spent most of 1985 and 1986 in Afghanistan and Pakistan researching the aftermath of the 1979 Soviet invasion of this mountainous, fiercely Islamic country. Bonner made another trip to Pakistan in mid-1987 to test his conclusions against recent events. Bonner therefore brings both recent experience and the sharp eye of a veteran journalist to an analysis of the Afghan situation: the tenacity and courage of the resistance, the massive emmigration, and the toll taken by the seemingly endless conflict on the country and its people. The author has seen both the great and small of Afghanistan--both the seared flesh of the hand that an Afghan mujahidin held in the fire to demonstrate his courage and the geopolitical reasons that impelled the former Soviet Union of set its might and treasure against a people who resisted with a fierce and sometimes (to Western eyes) thoughtless courage. This is the story of these antagonists--sobering, chilling, and finally enlightening.
Born in Australia, Shirley Hazzard first moved to Naples as a young woman in the 1950s to take up a job with the United Nations. It was the beginning of a long love affair with the city. The Ancient Shore collects the best of Hazzard’s writings on Naples, along with a classic New Yorker essay by her late husband, Francis Steegmuller. For the pair, both insatiable readers, the Naples of Pliny, Gibbon, and Auden is constantly alive to them in the present.
With Hazzard as our guide, we encounter Henry James, Oscar Wilde, and of course Goethe, but Hazzard’s concern is primarily with the Naples of our own time—often violently unforgiving to innocent tourists, but able to transport the visitor who attends patiently to its rhythms and history. A town shadowed by both the symbol and the reality of Vesuvius can never fail to acknowledge the essential precariousness of life—nor, as the lover of Naples discovers, the human compassion, generosity, and friendship that are necessary to sustain it.
Beautifully illustrated by photographs from such masters as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Herbert List, The Ancient Shore is a lyrical letter to a lifelong love: honest and clear-eyed, yet still fervently, endlessly enchanted.
“Much larger than all its parts, this book does full justice to a place, and a time, where ‘nothing was pristine, except the light.’”—Bookforum
“Deep in the spell of Italy, Hazzard parses the difference between visiting and living and working in a foreign country. She writes with enormous eloquence and passion of the beauty of getting lost in a place.”—Susan Slater Reynolds, Los Angeles Times
“The two voices join in exquisite harmony. . . . A lovely book.”—Booklist, starred review
Appalachia North: A Memoir
Matthew Ferrence West Virginia University Press, 2018 Library of Congress F106.F47 2019 | Dewey Decimal 917.404
Appalachia North is the first book-length treatment of the cultural position of northern Appalachia—roughly the portion of the official Appalachian Regional Commission zone that lies above the Mason-Dixon line. For Matthew Ferrence this region fits into a tight space of not-quite: not quite “regular” America and yet not quite Appalachia.
Ferrence’s sense of geographic ambiguity is compounded when he learns that his birthplace in western Pennsylvania is technically not a mountain but, instead, a dissected plateau shaped by the slow, deep cuts of erosion. That discovery is followed by the diagnosis of a brain tumor, setting Ferrence on a journey that is part memoir, part exploration of geology and place. Appalachia North is an investigation of how the labels of Appalachia have been drawn and written, and also a reckoning with how a body always in recovery can, like a region viewed always as a site of extraction, find new territories of growth.
Marcia Bonta University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999 Library of Congress F155.B66 1999 | Dewey Decimal 508.748
The Aran Islands
John M. Synge Northwestern University Press, 1999 Library of Congress PR5533.A417 1999 | Dewey Decimal 828.91203
In the late 1890s, John Synge, in his middle twenties and unsure of his vocation, made his way to Paris to study French literature and become a literary critic. There he met William Butler Yeats. The eminent poet advised Synge to drop his involvement with fin de siècle French authors, return to Ireland, and describe a society with which he had a natural connection.
Synge first traveled to the primitive, little-known Aran Islands in 1898. His trip proved to be a wonderfully fruitful and decisive experience. He then went back for part of each summer until 1902. The Aran Islands, his memoir of those experiences, was published in 1907, and the future playwright called it his "first serious piece of work."
Carpeted in boreal forests, dotted with lakes, cut by rivers, and straddling the Arctic Circle, the region surrounding the White Sea, which is known as the Russian North, is sparsely populated and immensely isolated. It is also the home to architectural marvels, as many of the original wooden and brick churches and homes in the region's ancient villages and towns still stand. Featuring nearly two hundred full color photographs of these beautiful centuries-old structures, Architecture at the End of the Earth is the most recent addition to William Craft Brumfield's ongoing project to photographically document all aspects of Russian architecture.
The architectural masterpieces Brumfield photographed are diverse: they range from humble chapels to grand cathedrals, buildings that are either dilapidated or well cared for, and structures repurposed during the Soviet era. Included are onion-domed wooden churches such as the Church of the Dormition, built in 1674 in Varzuga; the massive walled Transfiguration Monastery on Great Solovetsky Island, which dates to the mid-1550s; the Ferapontov-Nativity Monastery's frescoes, painted in 1502 by Dionisy, one of Russia's greatest medieval painters; nineteenth-century log houses, both rustic and ornate; and the Cathedral of St. Sophia in Vologda, which was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in the 1560s. The text that introduces the photographs outlines the region's significance to Russian history and culture.
Brumfield is challenged by the immense difficulty of accessing the Russian North, and recounts traversing sketchy roads, crossing silt-clogged rivers on barges and ferries, improvising travel arrangements, being delayed by severe snowstorms, and seeing the region from the air aboard the small planes he needs to reach remote areas.
The buildings Brumfield photographed, some of which lie in near ruin, are at constant risk due to local indifference and vandalism, a lack of maintenance funds, clumsy restorations, or changes in local and national priorities. Brumfield is concerned with their futures and hopes that the region's beautiful and vulnerable achievements of master Russian carpenters will be preserved. Architecture at the End of the Earth is at once an art book, a travel guide, and a personal document about the discovery of this bleak but beautiful region of Russia that most readers will see here for the first time.
This classic is an original work of literature by one of America's foremost conservationists and is an account of the people of the north, both Native and white, who give Alaska its special human flavor. First published over fifty years ago, the book is still a favorite among old-time Alaskans and, over the years, has prompted numerous readers to pack up and move to Alaska.
The richness of statistical coverage in this book, and Marshall's careful descriptions of the characters he met, provide readers with a window to the world of 1930 and a nearly complete record of the Koyukuk civilization as he saw it. Readers learn what the people of Wiseman thought about sex, religion, politics, and the myriad of ways they found to cope with and enjoy life in a wilderness community.
As China’s global influence continues to rise, its capital, Beijing, has become increasingly important—and a popular tourist destination, greeting close to five million international visitors each year. An Armchair Traveller’s History of Beijing presents the capital from its earliest beginnings as a prehistoric campsite for Peking Man through its fluctuating fortunes under a dozen dynasties.
Home to capitals of several states over time, the site of modern Beijing has been ruled by Mongolian chiefs and the glorious Ming emperors, whose tombs can still be found on its outskirts. Through Beijing, we can experience Chinese history itself, including its more famous residents—including Khubilai Khan, Mulan, and Marco Polo. Special emphasis is placed on Beijing’s precarious heritage in the twenty-first century, as modern construction wipes out much of the old city to make way for homes for twenty million people.
This book also offers detailed information on sites of tourist interest, including the pros and cons of different sections of the Great Wall and the best ways to see the Forbidden City and the fast-disappearing relics of the city’s Manchu and Maoist eras. A chapter on food and drink examines not only local delicacies, but the many other Chinese dishes that form part of Beijing’s rich dining traditions. With its blend of rich history and expert tips, An Armchair Traveller’s History of Beijing is an essential introduction to one of the world’s most remarkable cities.
In these eloquent and intensely personal writings, Franz Liszt sketches the cities, people, and scenes of his travels in the 1830s and explores ideas about art and its ideal place in the world. During six years of wandering through Switzerland, France, Italy, Austria, and Germany (four of them together with Countess Marie d'Agoult), the composer saw the greatest art and most fabulous landscapes of Europe and crossed paths with celebrated singers and artists, renowned intellectuals, infamous socialites, and both reigning and deposed aristocracy. The article/essays that emerged from this period are both public and private: though written for the Paris press, they are the closest that Liszt came to autobiography. Some of these writings are travel articles; some are essentially reports of a music correspondent; still others are personal and confessional; and some are really essays on the nature of art. All offer precious insight into the musical, social, and intellectual life in the major European capitals seen through the eyes of one of the most well-read and influential musical personalities of the period.
Sometimes it takes an outsider to capture the essence of an individual place. The impressions of travelers in particular have a special allure—unanticipated and serendipitous, their views get to the heart of a particular region because nothing to them is routine or expected.
First published in 1933 by the University of Chicago Press to mark the occasion of the Century of Progress Exhibition, As Others See Chicago consists of writings culled from over a thousand men and women who visited the city and commented on the best and worst it had to offer, from the skyscrapers to the stockyards. Originally compiled by Bessie Louise Pierce, the first major historian of Chicago, and featuring her own incisive commentary, the volume brings together the impressions of visitors to Chicago over two and a half centuries, from the early years of Westward Expansion to the height of the Great Depression. In addition to writings from better known personalities such as Rudyard Kipling and Waldo Frank, the book collects the opinions of missionaries, aristocrats, journalists, and politicians—observers who were perfectly placed to comment on the development of the city, its inhabitants, and well known events that would one day define Chicago history, such as the Great Fire of 1871 and the 1893 World's Fair.
Taking us back to a time when Chicago was "more astonishing than the wildest visions of the most vagrant imaginations," As Others See Chicago offers an enthralling portrait of an enduring American metropolis.
James H. S. McGregor Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress DF919.M35 2014 | Dewey Decimal 949.512
Revered as the birthplace of democracy, Athens is much more than an open-air museum filled with crumbling monuments to ancient glory. Athens takes readers on a journey from the classical city-state to today's contemporary capital, revealing a world-famous metropolis that has been resurrected and redefined time and again.
Azan on the Moon is an in-depth anthropological study of people’s lives along the Pamir Highway in eastern Tajikistan. Constructed in the 1930s in rugged high-altitude terrain, the road fundamentally altered the material and social fabric of this former Soviet outpost on the border with Afghanistan and China. The highway initially brought sentiments of disconnection and hardship, followed by Soviet modernization and development, and ultimately a sense of distinction from bordering countries and urban centers that continues to this day.
Based on extensive fieldwork and through an analysis of construction, mobility, technology, media, development, Islam, and the state, Till Mostowlansky shows how ideas of modernity are both challenged and reinforced in contemporary Tajikistan. In the wake of China’s rise in Central Asia, people along the Pamir Highway strive to reconcile a modern future with a modern past. Weaving together the road, a population, and a region, Azan on the Moon presents a rich ethnography of global connections.
Mexico is more than a country; it is a concept that is the product of a complex network of discourses as disparate as the rhetoric of Chicano nationalism, English-language literature about Mexico, and Mexican tourist propaganda. The idea of "Mexicanness," says Daniel Cooper Alarcón, "has arisen through a process of erasure and superimposition as these discourses have produced contentious and sometimes contradictory descriptions of their subject." By considering Mexicanness as a palimpsest of these competing yet interwoven narratives, Cooper offers a paradigm through which the construction and representation of cultural identity can be studied.
He shows how the Chicano myth of Aztlan was constructed upon earlier Mesoamerican myths, discusses representations of Mexico in texts by nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers, and analyzes the content of tourist literature, thereby revealing the economic, social, and political interests that drive the production of Mexicanness today. This original linking of seemingly incongruous discourses corrects the misconception that Mexicanness is produced only by hegemonic groups. Cooper shows how Mexico has been defined and represented, by both Mexicans and non-Mexicans, as more than a political or geographic entity, and he particularly reveals how Mexicanness has been exploited by Mexicans themselves through the promotion of tourism as a form of neocolonialism.
Cooper's work is valuable both for identifying attempts to revise and control Mexican myth, history, and culture and for defining the intricate relationship between history, historiography, and cultural nationalism. The Aztec Palimpsest extends existing analyses of Mexicanness into new theoretical realms and provides a fresh perspective on the relationship between the United States and Mexico at a time when these two nations are becoming more intimately linked.