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Border Crossing: On the Road from Peking to Paris Hardcover – 1 Jul 1999


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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Virago (1 July 1999)
  • ISBN-10: 1860496490
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860496493
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,617,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

In December 1996 Rosie Thomas received a cryptic message. You know you want to do it. Just say yes. P. The note was from Phil Bowen, a mountaineer and photographer Thomas had met on a trek to the Everest base camp several months before. Bowen wanted her to drive half way round the world with him in an antique Volvo Amazon, in a recreation of the first ever international motor rally, the 1907 Peking to Paris Motor Challenge.

Thomas, mother of two and best selling novelist pushing fifty, didn't exactly fit the young, male rally driver stereotype but decided to do it anyway. As a young woman she hadn't travelled: "Travel was dangerous, and demanded a sense of inner strength and adjustment that I didn't possess." Now she felt more confident. "I held all the threads of my life in my own hands now, and if I wasn't going to travel while I was at the peak of my abilities and still had some physical capacity left, then I probably never would."

Border Crossing is packed with antique cars, millionaire drivers, and, of course, breakdowns--but at its core this is less a book about rallying than about personal challenges. When Thomas's health breaks down she gets little support from the mostly male crew and doctors. She craves emotional support that Phil can't always give. This travelogue takes a refreshingly frank look at the relations between women, men and cars. --Kathleen Keefe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

A compelling narrative ... It is a measure of the success of this book that the reader is very nearly as reluctant to turn the last page (INDEPENDENT)

Impressive and pacy (MAIL ON SUNDAY)

A thrilling story (SCOTSMAN)

Inspirational and exciting ... brilliantly told (MARIE CLARE) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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The note was scribbled on a travel company's compliments slip, and it was paper-clipped to what looked like a holiday brochure. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Mar. 2000
Format: Paperback
As a fan of Rosie Thomas's fiction works I was browsing Amazon in search of one I had not read. I spotted this and was intrigued. Once I began reading I found that the book was almost un- put-down-able! I reluctantly found myself turning out my light at night. I wanted to reach the end to find out if Rosie and Phil did, but could not bear the thought of finishing such a gripping read. The book combines the features of a travelogue, including detailed pictures of places passed through, with the excitement of an adventure novel.Throw in the autobiographical detail, written with soul searching introspection, and you have a refreshing combination.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By AmazonReviewer100 on 8 Nov. 2004
Format: Paperback
I bought this book because I have a Volvo Amazon, not because I knew the author's work. Notwithstanding the gripping narrative (and I'm tempted to read her other work now), I found much of interest in the descriptions of the car problems, which are familiar to all owners, and the mechanical preparation with Tony the 'arch' Amazon expert. I love my Amazon, but I don't think I would after that journey. Well done, Rosie!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By janice boriss on 24 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed this book and didn't want it to come to an end. I've really enjoyed all Rosie Thomas books I've read so far, brilliant author in my opinion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Katie on 28 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author takes part in this extremely demanding race. I didn't realise what privations one had to encounter until I read it. Rosie suffered from difficult feminine health problems to the extent that she almost had to throw in the towel at several stages. It becomes a testament to the courage & staying power of a formidable lady. A really good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Levey on 17 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not your usual Rosie Thomas romp but a terrific story. I was a little put off as I don't 'do' cars/sport, but this is so much more. It's basically the story of Rosie Thomas and her rally partner competing in the Beijing/Paris rally. The rally travels through China, Tibet, Kathmandu and onwards westward, showing an interesting insight into the differing Eastern cultures. The characters and relationships are beautifully drawn as only Rosie Thomas does. If you enjoy Rosie Thomas books, you won't be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
This is a fairly long book which ordinary would take me quite a while to read, but like others have found, once started, it is very hard to put this one down. I completed it in just over a week and like all good books, was sorry when it came to an end.

If you've ever wanted to travel to some hard-to-reach destinations, this is a wonderful way to experience what it's like, but without the discomfort, privations, misery or expense that Rosie Thomas endured. Granted, you won't get the cameraderie and all the enjoyment of the more exotic places either but that's the price you pay for just about the best travel book there is [and perhaps the only book about the Peking to Paris motor rally].

This is a six week test of endurance, not just for the vintage and classic motors but for all the drivers and navigators too. They suffer mechanical failures of a catastrophic nature, health problems, climate changes from the freezing plateau of Tibet and Himalayas to the unrelenting desert heat of Iran. The people they meet range from friendly and welcoming to obviously hostile.

This is Rosie Thomas's only non-fiction work and not only can I recommend it but her novels are well worth reading too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bev on 27 Jun. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An interesting well written account.There is more about people and their behaviour under the stress of the rally than about the scenery.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The title of this book does not do justice to the story contained in it. In fact, the author and her co-driver crossed many international borders during the course of a commemorative motor rally from Beijing to Paris, the first one having taken place in 1907 if I remember correctly. This book is a rollicking adventure story in which the author and her co-driver confront and overcome different obstacles such as bureaucratic problems, a medical emergency, mechanical problems with their car and physical barriers. It is a testament to their tenacity and endurance that they managed to complete the course despite many setbacks. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good adventure story coupled with some interesting and enlightening facts about the various countries they passed through on their epic journey.
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