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Ghost Train Through the Andes: On My Grandfather's Trail in Chile and Bolivia Hardcover – 10 Aug 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (10 Aug. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719561795
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719561795
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.2 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 851,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Michael Jacobs so steeped his youth in erudition that until he was forty he didn't know who the Beatles were. He then burst from this shell and, making up for lost time, plunged into the wilder side of life. This unusual reversal gives him a unique voice, one that combines wit, warmth and wildness and seasons it with enough solid knowledge to give you confidence that you're in good hands. Ghost Train Through the Andes gives full measure of this extraordinary traveller and gifted writer. If you're not up to tramping the Atacama Desert or wandering through Bolivia on the eve of revolution, best let Michael Jacobs do it for you.

(Chris Stewart)

Praise for The Factory of Light:

'Turbulent, tender, irreverent and funny . . . Sheer delight' (Joanne Harris, author of CHOCOLAT)

'Michael Jacobs' book does everything a book ought to do: it amuses, delights and instructs' (Chris Stewart, author of DRIVING OVER LEMONS)

'A finale worthy of Fellini' (Geraldine Cooke, Independent)

'A welcome reminder that close encounters of the Mediterranean kind don't have to be all froth and bubble' (Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times)

'A journey of Chaucerian richness' (Barnaby Rogerson, Country Life)

'A magical, enraptured book'

(John Walsh, Independent)

'Jacobs is one of the best writers on all things Spanish'

(The Tablet)

'The particular strength of this eloquent, unhurried tale is its depiction of the author's friendship with El Sereno . . . Theirs is a winning Quixote-Panza double act'

(Miranda France, Daily Telegraph)

'Entertaining'

(Sara Wheeler, Daily Telegraph)

'Skilfully weaves the journeys of grandfather and grandson, separated by almost a century... Jacobs... embraces South America with the hot, lustrous spirit of carnival'

(Tarquin Hall, New Statesman)

'A... bold and engaging family history'

 

(Rory McLean, Sunday Telegraph 2006-08-03)

'There is enough exoticism here to keep the most demanding armchair traveller happy'

(Anthony Sattin, The Sunday Times 2006-08-03)

'[Jacobs] ignites a curiosity about the 20th-century history of these unfamiliar sounding places, which lie in an often inhospitable landscape... However the story of Bethel and Sophie provides the impetus that makes the author pursue his goal so elegantly'

(John Mc Bratney, Irish Times 2006-08-03)

'This is a thoughtful, entertaining and well-written account of a spiritual, as well as physical, journey'

(Tony Gould, The Independent 2006-08-03)

Book Description

Almost 100 years after his railway engineer grandfather embarked on a long, lonely passage to a remote corner of South America, Michael Jacobs sets off on a journey that will follow in his footsteps. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 27 April 2008
Format: Paperback
The family history is interesting, as many of Jacob's antecedents were relatively powerful/energetic/unusual types. But Jacobs uses this history to take us on a detective story that involves travel from Hull to Chile then onto Bolivia. This makes a facinating travel book and as such, it's a modern adventure story told by someone that can write very nicely indeed.

But it's more than this. It provides us with a facinating insight into the way an historian operates. This is history mixed with contemporary journalism, and as such it's a facinating glimpse into the past and present story of this corner of Latin America. I was impressed throughout by the characters met along the way, and by the slightly dogged and engaged personality of the writer.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Juan Ant Diaz Lopez on 13 July 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have read most of the books written by Michael Jacobs, and I must confess I have enjoyed all of them for various reasons, but Ghost Train is, no doubt, the best one till now. This is not common travel literature, this is the best travel literature, or perhaps, just LITERATURE, with capital letters. He is comparable to Norman Lewis, Jan Morris or Bruce Chatwin. Just from the very beginning the reader gets caught by the evocative images of a child at the deathbed of his grandfather and his attraction for adventure accompanied by the mysterious and beautiful sound of names like Antofagasta or Cochabamba. All the book is full of powerful images mixing the past and the present and you cannot avoid thinking in terms of those images, something between the peaceful and almost oniric lyrycism of The English Patient plus the quest for adventure of Diaries of a Motorcycle. That mixture of the reality of Chile and Bolivia, plus the love story of his grandparents produces in a reader with taste, eager to know about such remotes and exotic places, but demanding a writer who knows how to tell a story with the most perfect balance between emotion, sense of humour, and a tendency to face troubles and escape safely.

Any good scriptwriter should be writing the text for a beautiful movie, but the readers of this book will enjoy as much as I have enjoyed it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Helen Watson on 9 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
Michael Jacobs can tell a good story. I forgot about my fellow tube commuters and found myself transported to the grand vistas of the railways of the Atacama and the Altiplano. What more could you want in the morning?

The author's "quest" to discover his grandfather's experiences in South America and search out a lost British presence in the inhospitable wastes of the Andean highlands made a pretty good rationale for his travels. But the focus on the author's grandfather left me wanting a little more - Mr Jacobs senior seemed a bit straightforward. No 1920s extra-marital affairs, long lost Bolivian relatives or real political intrigue? Not quite enough mystery and a rather weak epilogue ("so what happened next?", "not much") left me slightly cold right at the end which meant four stars, not five. Shame as the rest was brilliant.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Several years ago I purchased this book for my dad. He loved it.
The book tells the story of the lads who built the railways in Chile, Bolivia and Argentina. My great-grandfather was one of them.
It's a brave man who undertakes this journey. Michael Palin did it once, so you could watch how he coped.
Still, it's a pilgrimage for many to go on the rickety train for 13 hours to La Paz with little available oxygen when you're at the top of the Andes!
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