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Full Circle: A Pacific Journey with Michael Palin [Paperback]

Michael Palin , Basil Pao
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Full Circle Full Circle 5.0 out of 5 stars (2)
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Book Description

17 Jun 1999
In this account of the third of Michael Palin's travel adventures for BBC Television, he journeys for almost a year, covering 50,000 miles and all of the 18 countries that border the Pacific Ocean, encompassing a wide diversity of landscape, culture and people. The Pacific Rim is one of the world's most volatile areas, with economies that are expanding faster than anywhere else on earth - and here the earth itself is in a constant state of flux. Not for nothing is the Pacific coastline known as the "Ring of Fire" - volcanoes mark Palin's journey like stepping stones, and he climbs one which has recently erupted and is still smoking. He negotiates mountains and plunging gorges, crosses glaciers, dodges icebergs, follows great rivers such as the Yangtse and the Amazon, and confronts the notorious Cape Horn and the wild and windswept beaches of western Alaska. The people Palin meets include one of the few remaining survivors of a Siberian Gulag camp, head-hunters in Borneo, and Japanese monks. He eats maggots in Mexico, rustles camels in the Australian desert, lands a plane in Seattle, and sings with the Pacific Fleet choir in Vladivostock.


Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books; New edition edition (17 Jun 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563551070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563551072
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,354,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Michael Palin established his reputation with Monty Python's Flying Circus and the Ripping Yarns. His work also includes several films with Monty Python, as well as The Missionary, A Private Function, an award-winning performance as the hapless Ken in A Fish Called Wanda and, more recently, American Friends and Fierce Creatures. His television credits include two films for the BBC's Great Railway Journeys, the plays East of Ipswich and Number 27, and Alan Bleasdale's GBH.

He has written books to accompany his very successful travel series, Around the world in 80 days, Pole to Pole, Full Circle, Hemingway Adventure, Sahara, Himalaya and New Europe. He is also the author of a number of children's stories, the play The Weekend and the novel Hemingway's Chair.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Having gone round the world and down the poles in Around the World in 80 Days and Pole to Pole, it seems fitting that Michael Palin should complete his travel odyssey for the BBC by completing Full Circle, the book which describes his journey through the 18 countries which border the Pacific Rim, and which make a rough circle of 11,000 miles in diameter. The result is a journey which, even by Palin's standards, is truly epic.

Pole to Pole represents what is probably Palin's most ambitious piece of travel writing to date, as he gradually begins to piece together a common Pacific culture, as he travels through Russia, Japan, China, Southeast Asia, Australia and South America. Often the sheer scope of the journey becomes overwhelming and slightly impressionistic, but as ever Palin's wit and wonder at his discoveries and encounters is unflagging, from the wonders of the ancient civilisations of Asia to the startling modernity and squalor of Latin America. It's all enough to turn you into a Buddhist, and, in Full Circle, Palin comes as close to conversion as it's possible for an old Python. --Jerry Brotton

Book Description

Michael Palin's terrific account of his journey through 18 countries bordering the Pacific Ocean, published by Phoenix for the first time. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael Palin's longest journey of them all 30 Jan 2006
Format:Audio CD
Michael Palin's "Full Circle" trip involved traveling all of the way around the Pacific Ocean. He (and his film crew) started at the Bering Strait in Alaska and then traveled down the Asian side of the Pacific, crossed over to Cape Horn, and traveled up through South and North America, returning to Alaska.
The trip covered 50,000 miles through 17 countries in ten months. Specifically, these countries were visited: USA (Alaska), Russia (Siberia), Japan, S. Korea (entry to N. Korea was denied), China, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, USA (California and Washington), Canada (British Columbia) and back to Alaska again.
This trip, like the other ones done by Michael Palin for the BBC, was filmed for viewing as a television mini-series. (This version is available on DVD.) Afterwards, Michael Palin and Basil Pao (the stills photographer in the filming crew) created this book as an alternative record of the trip.
The book is richly illustrated with Basil Pao's beautiful photographs. Michael Palin's text is wonderful because he has a way of finding interesting places and people and of describing them with warmth and humor.
The diversity of the many countries and places is amazing. Artic wilderness, tropics, deserts, cramped cities, huge rivers, high mountains, etc., etc. There are many high points along the way, the most exciting being when Michael Palin had to lasso a camel while standing in the back of a pickup truck that was going over bumps and around bends at break-neck speed!
At the same time, Michael Palin does not shy back from visiting and describing the thought-provoking places along his journey.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars full circle michael palin 19 Oct 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
yet another great book from mr palin. i have read his previous books ,pole to pole,sahara,himalayas and around the world in 80 days. this book is on par with his previous books. well worth reading whether you are a seasoned traveller or just want a good book to read. i read this book in a couple of days.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The book does not match up to the TV programme 21 Nov 1998
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
The companion to the TV series of the same name does not add much that was not seen on the screen. In fact despite the many glossy photos, the atmosphere which was ably captured on television has not been transferred to print. The book takes the form of a diary of the former Python's travels around the Pacific Rim, and details his and the crew's experiences. The TV series worked well as it highlighted the cultural diversity of the area and the spectacular, but these are elements which can not be converted to book form without a far more in depth commentary which was not possible for an author who typically spent two days in each city. I would recommend buying the video rather than the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Going through the motions 24 Jun 2003
Format:Audio Cassette
Michael Palin's adventures without doubt have caputured people's imagination. Most of the time Michael Palin seems to be enjoying himself in hi own idiosyncraitic way.
With previous journeys Around the World In 80 Days and Pole to Pole under his belt it seems that Full Circle wasn't something that he was to keen on doing.
Starting his adventures in Alaska and making his way through the bleak Eastern Russian seaboard through into China and Vietnam.
Unfortuntely Palin's wife suffers from a brain tumour whilst he is the Phillipines he shares his worries and concerns as he makes a round trip from Northern Australia back home and bravely returns to complete the adventure.
The disappointing thing about the audiobook is you only get an abrigded version of Palin's adventures and don't match the TV series for humour or fun.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 26 Oct 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Full Circle opened my eyes to the activities surrounding the Pacific Rim. Although I had seen the series, the book took me back to the places visited with vivid descriptions and personal touches added by the author. One of the aspects I enjoyed the most was the insight to other cultures, far removed from our own. Traces of homesickness were more apparent in the book than on the programme, which added to the sense of travel and adventure. An educating read for both those who have visited the countries mentioned and those, who like me travel by the armchair to foreign lands.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Makes you wish you were there 8 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Michael's narrative is entertaining and informative and you feel that he is also being entertained and informed on his amazing journey to seldom visited places of the world. A pleasant distraction from the daily grind.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fleshes out the TV series nicely 6 April 2014
Format:Paperback
I am a massive fan of Palin’s travel series’ and Pole to Pole and 80 Days hold a legendary status for me as the two most intense and original of his adventures in both book and TV format. When I first watched Full Circle, I was a little disappointed by the lack of intensity and frequent skipping between places and unexplained jumps (such as from Java to Australia). However, the book is great in that it feels much closer to the completeness and depth of Palin’s first two adventures than the TV series does. By the end, you are hugely impressed by the scale of the journey Palin and the crew take.

This is because the book allows far better and more detailed explanation and gives you plenty of info about his surroundings: the hotel room, frankness about how he was feeling at the time and explanation of how and why he got to the next place (if he jumped a long distance, it was usually due to having to fly and for good reason). This means you are not left (as in the TV series) baffled and disappointed, with the sense of adventure and intensity of the journey being lost, when you suddenly move on to somewhere miles away without enough sense of journey or adventure.

As with Pole to Pole and 80 Days, what I also like about this book now is that as time passes it becomes ever more fascinating and has already become a period piece. 18 years later you can are able to look back (quite a long way in fact in 2014) at a snapshot of the Pacific Rim in 1996; early post-Soviet Russia for instance and mid-90s China as it embraced capitalism, when the Yangtze Gorges were yet to be submerged and most city people still rode bicycles.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love MP
Love MP
Published 16 days ago by Yvonne & Phillip
5.0 out of 5 stars book
Give me a chance I have not had time to read it yet,i can only go by the tv prog. ! !
Published 6 months ago by red
4.0 out of 5 stars I ♥ Michael Palin
I have this book on audio book and paperback as i like to listen to Mr Palin's voice to fall asleep. I love his work and his is my favorite of his tv shows. Read more
Published 15 months ago by D. White
5.0 out of 5 stars Full Circle by Michael Palin
Having enjoyed Michael Palin's novel, The Truth, Full Circle was my next choice of book. I saw some of the television series of Mr Palin's Pacific Rim travels. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Yours, Very, very eligible for a bus-pass
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as ever
How could Michael Palin books not be very good. Seen every episode, now read every book. Fantastic. When is the next adventure after Brazil???
Published 19 months ago by Michael Whittam
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael Palin's - Full Circle: A Pacific Journey
Michael Palin is a great storyteller and takes you on the journey with him. Great to just sit and listen
Published 20 months ago by Mrs Janet R Courtenay
4.0 out of 5 stars Around the Pacific with Michael Palin
In recent years, ex-Python Michael Palin has carved out a whole new career for himself as a worldwide traveller. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Globe-trotter
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great!
Though "Full Circle" is certainly a very readable book, you feel quite early on that something is missing. Read more
Published on 18 July 2011 by Foxdog
4.0 out of 5 stars Palin's Pacific Rim Travels
I've read most of Michael Palin's travel books. I enjoy his mix of facts, opinion and humour. I suspect that because of advancing years,he, like me. Read more
Published on 16 Mar 2011 by Jim Seaside
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