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On Foot to the Golden Horn: A Walk to Istanbul [Hardcover]

Jason Goodwin
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 July 1993
Setting off with his best friend and his girlfriend, the author of this book walked from the bleak northern shore of Poland through Transylvania, Bulgaria, Romania, heading for the Golden Horn in Istanbul. They develop bunions, sleep in barns, get drunk with peasants and see Eastern Europe change before their eyes.

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On Foot to the Golden Horn: A Walk to Istanbul + Lords of the Horizons : A History of the Ottoman Empire
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus (1 July 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701136685
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701136680
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.5 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 389,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jason Goodwin writes the best-selling Yashim detective series set in 1830s Istanbul. The fifth in the series, The Baklava Club, is out in June.
'When you read a historical mystery by Jason Goodwin,' writes Marylin Stasio in The New York Times Book Review, 'you take a magic carpet ride to the most exotic place on earth.'
The Janissary Tree won the EdgarAllen Poe Award for Best Novel in 2007, and the series has appeared in over 40 languages. 
He's written award-winning books of travel and history, including Lords of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire. Time Out called it 'perhaps the most readable history ever written on anything.'

Jason's love-affair with Turkey was kindled in 1990 when he and Kate, his partner, walked 2000 miles across eastern Europe, from Gdansk to Istanbul. The award-winning 'On Foot to the Golden Horn' tells the story of that journey in a year of change, and it's available on Kindle.

Also on Kindle, The Gunpowder Gardens: Travels through India and China in Search of Tea tells the story of Jason's journey across the world of tea, its trade and history.

He lives in Dorset, on the south coast of England, with Kate and their four children.

Product Description

About the Author

Jason Goodwin was born in 1964 and studied History at Trinity College, Cambridge. He was the joint winner of the Spectator/ Sunday Telegraph Young Writer of the Year Award in 1987, and had travelled extensively in the Far East and India. His first book, The Gunpowder Gardens: Travels Through India and China in Search of Tea, was published in 1990, and was shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Travel Book Awards in 1991. On Foot To The Golden Horn was winner of the Mail on Sunday/ John Llewellyn Rhys Prize 1993. He lives in London. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heavy on Transylvania, Light on Istanbul 18 Feb 1999
By A Customer
thebigsee@hotmail.com from UK , September 18, 1998 Heavy on Transylvania, light on Istanbul The tale of three (and later just two) British friends who walk from Gdansk, Poland, to Istanbul, Turkey, Goodwin's writing is crisp and vivid with detail and excellent metaphors; his sense of humor and self-deprecation also shine through. This book shines best in its description of the people and places Goodwin meets on the road; you feel as though you are there. His descriptions of the failings of Eastern European cigarettes are reason enough to read the book.
The book is also fascinating in Goodwin's capture of a pivotal period (just after the fall of the Iron Curtain), and he reveals a fascinating landscape that goes beyond the "now you've got democracy, eveything's better" to show people who are scared by the West, unfamiliar with democracy, and cynical about change.
The momentum Goodwin builds in his masterful narrative of adventures with strangers, friendships made and broken, towns described, etc., is regularly hobbled by his lengthy discussions of local history; though informative and well-written, these historical essays seem ponderous when injected in the middle of his intriguing road stories, and therefore, seem out-of-place.
And those looking for a book on adventures in Turkey and Istanbul should be warned that very little of the book occurs on the Golden Horn; most of the book is dedicated to Poland and Transylvania. This was my only other disappointment; after thousands of miles across Eastern Europe, filled with vivid description, Goodwin steps into Turkey and then the book is over, giving you the impression that he was anxious to get the manuscript to the editor.
But overall, this is an excellent road book, and Goodwin is a real talent.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Very much a first 26 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An interesting book up to a point, but perhaps weighted too much towards narrative around Poland so the last part of the journey seems like much more of a rush.
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1.0 out of 5 stars annoying formatting makes it almost unreadable 22 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This review is for the presentation/formatting of the Kindle edition, NOT the content. I like Jason Goodwin's writing, but the formatting has made this a book I couldn't finish.

In the Kindle edition the text only occupies about two-thirds of the width of the page. It makes for very short line lengths and - for me - an unpleasant reading experience. So unpleasant that I've given up on it.

Changing the type, leading and measure has no effect on the basic problem.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On foot to the Golden Horn 14 April 2009
On Foot to the Golden Horn: A Walk to Istanbul

I found a note about this book when I read the 'detective' novel by the same author, Janisary tree I thin that was titled. After having read this book I don't think the reference was accurate. In this book there was very little about marks left by the Ottoman Empire as promised by the note. Having seen the ols Tukish baths on the Buda side I wanted to know more about that kind of historical sites.

Anyhow, reading the book was time well spent! The year 1990 and the route through Easter Europe countryside made it interesting. I also was happy with the reticence the author had with the details of the difficulties the walk certainly must have had, and concentrated in other, more interesting information. The chapters about Romania were most informative for me, as I have visited Poland and Hungary.

For me, a non-native reader, the language the author used seemed often almost ridiculous. Why describe a walk through villages with words my thinner dictionaries would not even recognize?

I ordered the book thinking I would be about cultural history, but it was
worth reading as it is!

Merja Järvenpää
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars alpha for effort, gamma for interest 20 Oct 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not a patch on Paddy Leigh-Fermor's prewar efort; Goodwin lacks his descriptive powers, and has nothing much to say on the lands he passes through. Pen-pictures of the rather curmudgeonly lot he meets are evidence of the brutalising effect of communism, and raise serious doubts about the entry of some of these countries into the EU so early.
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