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The Kindness of Strangers (Lonely Planet Travel Literature) [Paperback]

Simon Winchester , Tim Cahill , Pico Iyer , Jan Morris , Stanley Stewart , Alice Waters
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

22 Aug 2008 Lonely Planet Travel Literature

Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher*

A timely collection of 26 inspiring tales, The Kindness of Strangers explores the unexpected human connections that so often transfigure and transform the experience of travel, and celebrates the gift of kindness around the world. Featuring stories by Jan Morris, Tim Cahill, Simon Winchester and Dave Eggers.

I greatly appreciate the theme of this book that gathers stories of kindness received when it was most needed and perhaps least expected. I am sure they will inspire everyone who reads them, encouraging each of us to take whatever opportunities arise to be kind to others in turn. - HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA

The Kindness of Strangers is a wonderful companion for travel. It enlarges us, reminds us that serendipity is one of the ultimate joys of life's constant journey. - AMY TAN

A wonderful idea beautifully realized. I enjoyed it immensely.- BILL BRYSON

About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, as well as an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet's mission is to enable curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places where they travel.

TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Awards 2012 and 2013 winner in Favorite Travel Guide category

'Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.' - New York Times

'Lonely Planet. It's on everyone's bookshelves; it's in every traveller's hands. It's on mobile phones. It's on the Internet. It's everywhere, and it's telling entire generations of people how to travel the world.' - Fairfax Media (Australia)

*#1 in the world market share - source: Nielsen Bookscan. Australia, UK and USA. March 2012-January 2013


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The Kindness of Strangers (Lonely Planet Travel Literature) + Tales from Nowhere (Lonely Planet Travel Literature)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Lonely Planet; 2 edition (22 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1741795214
  • ISBN-13: 978-1741795219
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 12.9 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 100,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a mixed bag 2 Aug 2009
By Joanne
Format:Paperback
This book is a selection of short stories on incidences when travellers have been helped by the kindness of strangers. There are stories from famous travel writers as well as a selection of stories from unknown writers who submitted their tales as part of an appeal by Lonely Planet.

It is easy reading and the type of book you can easily pick up and read when you have 10 minutes free. Many of the stories are pleasant moments about the kindness from common humanity.

However I would be tempted to agree to some extent with Nadine, that with the scope of material that one would imagine is available to Lonely Planet, some of the tales seem to be about kindness having to rescue 'foolish travellers' who simply failed to plan. A couple of the famous writers seemed to be fulfilling an obligation by submitting something. One or two of the stories could perhaps more harshly be titled "the unkindness or arrogance of the visitor". The most disappointing was "My Beirut Hostage Crisis" where the writer was simply rude and unkind and if this is the best he can do to describe kindness I am glad I haven't met him.

I also felt "We Can't Fix Anything, Even the Smallest Things, in Cuba" missed the point of the book. It was not well written and didn't really cover kindness. Although it was a helpful reflection on the guilt induced by our comparitive wealth as visitors.

However as a light, easy read that mostly makes you feel positive I would generally recommend the book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable short stories for those with a travel bug 4 Feb 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I enjoyed reading The Kindness of Strangers slowly, savoring each story on it's own. The stories take place all over the world - Russia, Burma, Hawaii, Morocco, Scotland, Argentina, Ascension Island, Lebanon... I loved getting glimpses into places far from home. And I loved that the focus of these stories is on the people more than the places, and the humanity that links us all. This isn't just a "feel good" book. Many of these stories feature kindness coupled with fearful or potentially tragic circumstances. The stories remind us that kindness co-exists with cruelty, love co-exists with fear.

My favorite stories in this book were Highland Remedy by Fran Palumbo and Brief Encounter by Carolyn Swindell. Both are stories about the simplest encounters - a woman chats with a man in a restaurant, another negotiates with a sales woman in a clothing store. Both writers were profoundly touched by a simple kindness offered when least expected. With attention to detail and plenty of humor, both stories describe a moment when a stranger wakes them up and jostles them into a better place. Of course, no one need travel across the world to experience a kind stranger. But sometimes the extreme aloneness of being in a far off land can make you pay extra attention to those who cross your path.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars kindness in travels 26 Oct 2012
By puravidalover - Published on Amazon.com
This is a remarkable travel book that is a collection of stories around the world in which kindness was shown to a stranger by a stranger. Jan Morris, in the first story, captures the essence of kindness: "...it offers us an uncomplicated morality, liberated from every species of mumbo jumbo, the spells of witch doctors or the theology of professors."

I enjoyed reading these stories which take place all over the world, many in the Middle East, others in Russia, Africa, South America, and Asia. I was only disappointed in one story, titled "On the Trail of the Caspian Tiger" in Turkey. The tiger is never found and I believe it is now extinct.

I remember the great impression made upon me as a child in Karachi, Pakistan, when my parents found a German couple driving their car all the way from Germany, and invited them to spend the night at our house.

Kindness to strangers is certainly love in action, or what Thomas Merton has defined in one of his books as love being a matter of "practical and concrete human relations."

Kindness of the type shown in this book has been showed to me many times in my own travels. I remember driving across the US many years ago, and an Indian family on a highway in Nevada, owners of a motel, invited me to share their dinner.

Today I am retired in Costa Rica. Although not a traveller in a strict sense, sometimes I feel like one. Just yesterday I went to nearby restaurant in my small town and was able to borow some salt, something I may not have done in the US. There is something magical about kindness that breaks barriers and overcomes the greed of our capitalist world.
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