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Up the Amazon Without a Paddle [Turtleback]

Doug Lansky
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1999
Doug Lansky travels the world looking for adventures and reports them with a dry wit in a syndicated newspaper column. This anthology of his writings contains 60 of his adventures, including: fending off hippos with a canoe paddle on the Zambesi River; swimming with dolphins off the coast of New Zealand; riding an ostrich in South Africa; lassoing reindeer above the Arctic Circle; diving for treasure in Key West; wrestling an alligator in Florida; and crossing the Great Indian Desert on a nauseous camel.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Turtleback
  • Publisher: Demco Media (April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0606168591
  • ISBN-13: 978-0606168595
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 15.9 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Doug Lansky is an American travel writer currently based in Sweden. He spent about 10 years traveling the world nonstop, visiting over 100 countries, and has since lived outside the US for an additional 13 years. Doug has contributed to Esquire, Men's Journal, The Guardian, National Geographic Adventure, Reader's Digest, COLORS Magazine, Public Radio, and many others. He has written books for Rough Guides and Lonely Planet (advice and photo books, not guides) and has had a nationally syndicated travel column in 40 newspapers around the United States. He has always been mindful of the effects of travel writing and the impact of tourism, and currently writes about this in a regular column for Skift.

Product Description

From the Author

Not just another $8 (plus shipping and handling) travel book
Let me be first to explain that this book has very little to do with the Amazon or me losing my paddle on it. The title was simply borrowed from one misadventure in which I ended up blowgun hunting deep in the rain forest with my face painted like a fierce jungle warrior, or perhaps a Washington Redskins fan. UP THE AMAZON WITHOUT A PADDLE is a collection of 60 of my favorite adventures from around the world. And many of these stories are accompanied by exciting photos, some of which are even in focus! This book should provide some new trip ideas if you’re planning a journey around the world. But my goal in writing it was to bring out the lighter side of traveling (and so I could tell my grandfather I was employed). Hope you enjoy it. - Doug --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Behold the roving wisecracker! 1 Jun 1999
By A Customer
Doug Lansky's book is a must read for any seasoned adventure traveller or, for that matter, anyone who has always wanted to be one. It's a hilarious ride that goes well past simple descriptions of exotic destinations to the real experiences of being in those places; where a sense of humor is often the most frequently used resource in the survival kit!
The book is a compilation of pieces written for Lansky's syndicated "Vagabaond" travel column, and each piece takes you on a new adventure. These are not travel pieces that are designed to tell you where to go and what to do but, rather, how damn funny things often get once you get there, regardless of where the "there" might happen to be. For Lansky, humor is clearly an abundant international commodity, and he collects his stories like a hawker collects watches to pin to the inside of his trenchcoat. The result is an eclectic collection that's well stocked.
For the most part, the book, with its Dave Barry meets Tim Cahill slant on things, really is funny as hell. However, sensitive souls should be warned. Lansky makes many of his jokes at the expense of whatever local population he's dealing with, and even though it's obviously all in good fun his sarcastic irreverence has a definite edge to it and is not for everyone. The redeeming factor, for this reviewer, is that he's not afraid to poke fun at himself as well, and readers will spend almost as much time laughing at his own bad judgement. In the end, the real reward of the book is that it reminds us that we often have our most rewarding experiences when we're willing to take a risk and try something different, and that we can do that wherever we are.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a very funny, winning book 9 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Judging from the reviews, this clearly is a book which is not likely to leave the reader indifferent. My personal experience is that it is a very funny and winning collection of travel vignettes, one which should appeal to anybody who has ever longed to cut-loose and, as the Navy would say, "See the World"--or is it "Come join the Adventure?!!!" I can't remember and it doesn't matter: the point is, if you're the kind of person likely to find humor in ad campaigns such that, then you're probably going to understand and enjoy Mr. Lansky's point-of-view. I recommend picking-up a copy and seeing for yourself. My guess is that you'll be drawn-in and that you'll know right away that this is a writer with a genuine comic talent.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 25 May 1999
By A Customer
Doug Lansky is a syndicated columnist whose travel columns are published in a handful of newspapers around the country. I have caught a few of his columns in my local paper and thought that I'd check out this book. Unfortunately, his writing really disappointed me.
'Up the Amazon' is a collection of some 60 plus of Doug Lansky's travel columns. Lansky's particular hook on travel writing is that he travels the world looking for humorous adventures off the beaten track that most tourists travel. This setup has a lot of potential; after all, what traveler hasn't experienced his or her share of funny mixed up stuff while 'on the road.'
The problem is that Lansky's book fails to live up to its 'off the beaten path' billing. First off, I realized that I had read different accounts of the places and events Lansky describes in his books in the work of other travel writers. Perhaps Lansky discovers the out-of-the-way places he visits by reading what others have written first. For novice travelers and readers, this isn't a problem. However, if you have read more than a passing of travel literature, the constant deja vu of Lansky's experiences will really irritate.
My second problem with this book was Lansky's paternalistic, spoiled-American view of life. If he isn't complaining about how much people in other cultures smell (such as this quote, describing what is special about India: '...it's a wicked combination of curry, cow [dung], and breath-taking body odor.') then he is trying to show how he isn't a coarse foreign tourist, even as he does the things all the other tourist do.
For example, while in Thailand, Lansky takes the 'original' trip to a Bangkok sex show.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a humorous review of a humorour book 8 Jun 1999
By A Customer
I think "Up the Amazon Without a Paddle" is one of the funniest books I've read in a long time. As an armchair traveler, I'd much rather read about someone else's misadventures than have them myself. Lansky willingly rode an ostrich in South Africa (an item pretty far down on my list of "life priorities.") He survived being injured and in a hospital in Thailand, attended by a medical staff made up of the cast from some Twilight Zone version of a Marx Brothers movie, and managed to make that sound funny, too. (Although I suspect it was a lot funnier in retrospect.) Re-naming the local flora and fauna on a canoe trip down the Zambezi, while being chased by hippos and crocs, also sounds like fun, as long as I'm not the one doing it. I could go on, but you get the idea. Lots of wonderful stories about situations that,if you're like me, you've spent your life trying to avoid. But, reading about them is laugh-out-loud funny.
Usually, this is the point in a book review for the quibbles- (too much of "this"; not enough of "that.") But, I have none. What could be bad about learning interesting facts about the culture and geography of other countries while, simultaneously, laughing? And all without leaving the comfort of your own home.
If you have a sense of humor (and I've never met anyone who admitted to not having one) you should read this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and easy read
Very enjoyable and funny descriptions of the traveling life. Doug Lansky has a real knack in describing how it feels to be an outsider in many different worlds.
Published on 14 July 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Funnier than Gresh Riley
I saw this in a local bookstore and just had to read it. Funny and a good read. The world needs more irreverant travel writers like Doug. Read more
Published on 8 July 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars Is the author writing these good reviews?
I read the online reviews here and thought I'd check out this book. Let me be blunt: It is really bad. I couldn't even read more than a few articles. Read more
Published on 7 July 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilariously honest--and it's about time
I've been following Doug's column in my local paper and I was thrilled when this collection came out. Read more
Published on 30 Jun 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars great -- if you love travel and irony
This book's a fun collection of columns that string together experiences most of us travel lovers can only dream about. Read more
Published on 30 Jun 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars Yuck
Doug Lansky's first book is a big waste of time. He can barely write, his adventures are hardly original, and his humor is full of stereotypes and body-function humor. Read more
Published on 25 Jun 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars Really bad
I always find it interesting when a book gets so many reader reviews so quickly. Does this mean that people really love the book, or is the author and his friends simply stocking... Read more
Published on 11 Jun 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Doug Lansky - he shoots . . . HE SCORES!
I have never laughed so hard as I have during a read through the many Doug Lansky articles he has produced over the years. His writing is quite creative. Read more
Published on 11 Jun 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars Really bad
This book gives hope to anyone who wants to be a writer but doubts whether they have the talent to succeed. Read more
Published on 10 Jun 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the read
This book claims to contain 60 offbeat adventures from around the world. I found none. So what if Doug Lansky watches a bullfight, takes dancing lessons, picks grapes, eats a... Read more
Published on 10 Jun 1999
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