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Road Fever (Vintage Departures) Paperback – Mar 1992

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (Mar. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394758374
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394758374
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.6 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,611,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A travelogue with an attitude, a road book with a ragged edge and purely gonzo sensibilities" (Los Angeles Times)

"Tim Cahill is the working-class Paul Theroux. He delights in finding stories too peculiar to be labelled merely off-beat" (New York Times)

"Tim Cahill is one of those rare types whose fun quotient seems to increase in direct proportion to the diceyness of the situation" (San Francisco Examiner)

"Tim Cahill has the what-the-hell adventuresomeness of T. E. Lawrence and the humor of P. J. O'Rourke" (Conde Nast Traveler) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Extreme travel writing for fans of Bill Bryson, Peter Moore, P.J. O'Rourke, Tim Moore. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "pottingshed" on 7 Oct. 2004
Format: Paperback
This was a hugely enjoyable book. You certainly don't need to be a petrol-head to be wrapped up in the story of Tim and his driver Garry as they bump along through the bullets and near misses. It is a classic story of two obsessives (but sort of normal guys) getting caught up in the moment as they sought to break the time record. You'll learn more about South and North America, and the workings of the Guinness book of records, along the way, and learn not to giggle when at border controls. All useful stuff. It is at times written with an almost British sense of understatement. You can vicariously enjoy their perils safely from your armchair, which probably does not smell of rotten milk shake. Would make a good escapist read for a commuter, and is very funny, and gripping. You cannot help but will them to succeed and agonise at their setbacks. If you've ever tried to get a 21 foot truck in a 20 foot container, this is the book for you.
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By P. Markham on 16 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback
Whilst browsing a charity shop l came across this book.I travel a fair bit on motorbikes,and would not usually get a travel book about driving full bore though many countries.But it was cheap so l got it,and glad l did .A smashing book not at all what l was expecting,A very good read,and very interesting.
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By J. Murch on 9 April 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I did not find this book funny, perhaps the US humor does not suit the UK taste. I was not left with interesting impressions of the countries traveled through. It seemed more about the writer than the journey. Overall a disappointment.
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By Al Dude on 12 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A really interesting read although given it's from the 80s I'm guessing some of it is now outdated
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 39 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Read It Fast 23 July 2003
By James Carragher - Published on
Format: Paperback
You probably can't race through it in 23 1/2 minutes, a minute for each day of Cahill and partner Gary Sowerby's Guinness World Record trip from south of Ushuaia, Argentina, (a lovely little city, by personal and Road Fever testimony) to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, but you should speed through the pages as they sped along the roads. The trip was in 1987 and would be impossible today because some of the route through Colombia is under violent guerrilla control. I would have liked much more of the trip and much less of the preparations. The logistics of preparing for long-distance race driving are staggering, but -- alas -- they are also not very interesting and well over a third of the less than 300 pages cover the getting ready. Once on the road some of Cahill's descriptions of the people and terrains through which they drive are terrific, especially the accounts of the Atacama desert in northern Chile and especially scary driving through Central America. I'd have liked more of that, but too much of the writing is of the "by five o'clock we reached x where we stopped for gas and got directions out of town" variety. Kind of like reading your MapQuest driving directions; they fill space, (usually) get you there, but are more functional than interesting. In the end, while I enjoyed Road Fever I thought it would be more fun than it was. Final note: absence of a map or maps is inexplicable.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
frenetically-paced, often amusing travelogue 20 July 2000
By J. K. Kelley - Published on
Format: Paperback
Cahill, a fellow who does interesting things and writes about them for a living, went with Garry Sowerby of Canada on an endurance driving trip from Ushuaia in southern Argentina to Deadhorse, Alaska; this is the story.
Where Cahill succeeds most here is in descriptive talent. From his conflicts with Sowerby to the smells of the inside of the vehicle to the terrain around him to the encounters with customs officials of a dozen nations, he never fails to paint a credible and interesting picture. Tim has always been good about telling the story even if it makes him look foolish, and this sense of literary integrity is strong here.
The only thing I felt a little shorted by was the virtual lack of any description of any activity between the US/Mexican border and Fairbanks. I can imagine them blazing across the US and Canada up to the Alcan in a day with no trouble, and maybe not much happened, but the real Alcan gets more interesting as you get into the Yukon and beyond; it seems it was glossed over. If I had a half-star markdown I might use it, but it wouldn't be fair to Cahill to mark him down a whole star on what is otherwise a great book--maybe not much really happened, which would explain why not much is said.
Recommended for adventure travel lovers, particularly those focused on South America.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Kings of the Road 27 Aug. 2001
By sweetmolly - Published on
Format: Paperback
Professional driver, Garry Sowerby and the admirable Tim Cahill put together a GM-sponsored race from Terra del Fuego, Argentina to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska (in less than 24 days) and pull it off. This is the story of their 15,000-mile odyssey, the goal being to break the Guinness World Record.
Tim is his usual exuberant, one-of-guys, self-deprecating self. There is no one who can recount an anecdote with quite his flair. While speeding across Honduras, a flock of birds crossed the windshield while Cahill was driving. "Garry had snapped bolt upright from his slouching position in the passenger seat. He was holding his belly as if he had been shot. `Wah' he said in his strange, sleep clogged voice-----there seemed to be a dead bird in his lap. `I reached down there,' Garry said, `I felt something warm and wet. I was sure I had been shot. I thought I was feeling my own intestines. Then I started wondering why my intestines would have feathers and bird feet on them." Stories like this made me laugh aloud.
The book was nonetheless claustrophobic. By the time, Tim and Garry had reached Central America; my only thought was "let me out of this truck!" All but about 20 pages are devoted to South and Central America. The last 5,000 miles of the US, Canada and Alaska are barely mentioned. I suppose this is because the last third of the trip was without incident or terrors. But it did give the book an unbalanced feel. The section regarding how you get yourself considered for setting a Guinness Record was very interesting. Hint: If you plan on setting or beating a record, check with Guinness before (not after) you do it. There were about 35 pages devoted to how one went about getting sponsored, i.e., raising money (in this case about $350,000) that I found tedious.
The book was enjoyable for the most part, but I did get the impression Tim Cahill was as glad the trip was over as I was.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Don't Try This at Home 10 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Tim Cahill is one of my favorite writers--he manages to be funny and touching at just the right moments. This book does both, although the emphasis is decidedly on "funny." I'm delighted to have experienced his trip vicariously, and would recommend this (or any of his other books) to anyone with a sense of humor and an interest in travel.
I would take issue with a comment by Rosseroo (below), however: I don't think enjoyment of these books is at all gender-specific; I'm a woman who is only sorry that she's read all of Cahill's books (I wish there were more!). And I haven't shared them with anyone, male or female, who didn't find them hilarious.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A different reason for loving Road Fever 5 July 2002
By Andy Orrock - Published on
Format: Paperback
I gotta tell you that I didn't find the book as laugh-out-loud funny as many of the people here did. But that fact didn't cause me to love "Road Fever" any less then they did. What I loved about it is the care Tim Cahill spent in recounting in great detail the amount of preparation - especially in the area of paperwork - required to make a journey from Tierra del Fuego to the northern tip of Alaska in record time.
Because, frankly, it's not a question of how fast you can drive; rather, the BIG ISSUE is how much time it takes you to cross the border from Country X to Country Y. And then again from Country Y to Country Z. This ain't the European Community where you can whiz past the Germany - Netherlands border without realizing it. These are real border crossings - guards, official stamps, commissars, corruption, danger, you name it.
Garry Sowerby and Tim Cahill spent up to a year preparing for that aspect of the trip. Yes, GM sponsorship helped in places. Yes, the Canadian government helped in places. But what carries them through at the end of the day is the intense focus and planning these two guys put into the journey before the trip even gets started.
There's a lesson in there for everyone.
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