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The Gringo Trail: A Darkly Comic Road Trip Through South America Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Kindle Edition, 27 Aug 2010
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Length: 338 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Description

Review

'... not for the faint hearted... an uncompromising account of
drugs on the road... a tumultuous trip through... South America'
-- St Christopher's Inn youth hostel website

'An entertaining and informative read.' -- Cambrian News, March 27 2008

It's a terrifically raw account, refusing to glamourise the trip... [captures] the essence of backpacking so perfectly. -- Andrew Lawless, Three Monkeys Online

St Christopher's Inn youth hostel website

'... not for the faint hearted... an uncompromising account of
drugs on the road... a tumultuous trip through... South America'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 675 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1849530637
  • Publisher: Summersdale Publishers Ltd; 3 edition (27 Aug. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00413QMTU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #218,328 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 8 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
Although I've only recently become interested in travel literature, in comparison to some other novels in the genre I've read I wouldn't call this a 'must read'.
Basically, I wasn't really sure about the books purpose - was it trying to give a true insight into South America, past and present, or just tell us something about the Lonely Planet generation? Both, I suspect, but the outcome isn't entirely convincing. I have to admit, bits were dead funny and I liked Mark Mann's kinda offbeat style of writing, but by the end I couldn't help getting annoyed with these politically correct, middle-class gringos. However, I would still recommend the book for a couple of hours of escapism.
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Format: Paperback
Unlike other travelogues I have read, this one has a very punchy story. Not a book for the faint hearted, but I suppose South American backpacking never is. The characters (Mark No.2 and Melissa)are seriously "larger then life" although Mann himself is the mundane comparison with which most of us would associate. Mann is a talented story-teller, who has researched the South American history well, He approaches it from a somewhat cynical, anti-capitalist perspective, which would not be everyone's cup of tea. But regardless of your politics, the story reaches out and grabs you by the throat. A great big rollercoaster of geographical, and self exploration (mostly drug enhanced) that spirals towards an all too real,nightmare conclusion. I fought with my wife over whose turn it was to read the book, and she had nightmares afterwards. There must be safer ways to explore South America, but they wouldn't make quite so compulsive a read.
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This book was easy to read, and I enjoyed reminiscing about my own travels in South America. There was much less darkness and drug-fueled excess than I was expecting from the blurb. There was a strange slightly jarring mix of styles, with the factual passages and footnotes seeming out of place. I most enjoyed reading about the author's sometimes strained relationships with his travel companions and these definitely rang true. The end of the book is the best part by far, thought-provoking and genuinely moving.
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Format: Paperback
I picked this book up on a whim from a local discount book store. Having spent a small amount of time in South America I thought it would be fun to read, and as I want to travel the continent more extensively I thought I might find some inspiration. Mark Mann writes very informatively, and "chunks" the book into short, concise sections which makes this ideal for the casual reader (it's also good for the more hardened, "sit down and finish it in a day" kind of person like my sister as it gives her regular snack breaks). The descriptions are fantastic, the prose flows and the added educational aspects are well woven into the story. I enjoyed accompanying Mark and his friends through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Columbia. I laughed along with them when they experienced setbacks on the road, linguistic challenges in the cafes and overstuffed hostels. But I rate them as acquaintances, not friends, so I didn't really care when things went wrong for them. Even so, I would recommend this book as a travelling companion or as a bit of escapism when you're stuck at home, dreaming of adventures. Just don't go looking for luxury inside!
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Format: Paperback
The book is heavily advertised as a laddish, drugs laden, travelogue. Thank God, "The Gringo Trail" is much more than that, the drugs part being outweighed by interesting and humourous insights into today's Latin American reality. The tragic final events give even more flesh to this beefed-up "The Beach". My main reservations about the book concern the lectures in 70s third-worldism that constantly emerge throughout the book: OK, the Conquistadores were bad guys, OK, US multinationals are plundering LA's natural resources, but if the author judged such earth-shattering pieces of information ought to be included in the book, he could have chosen more updated materials (than, say, 1987 World Bank reports), written by someone with a slightly sharper analysis... And, one last thing: even though, at the end, Mark Mann [moans] about journalists mis-spelling foreign names, two thirds of the foreign words cited in the book are mis-spelled, be they Spanish, French or Italian. Otherwise, a pretty readable book that made two boring days in Tbilisi, Georgia, pass very quickly.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A well-written story of a South American trip; I'm impressed that he could remember the details after taking so many mind-bending substances on the journey. The frequent anti-capitalist rants, reminiscent of one-sided student politics, became a bit tedious but his descriptions of the people he met en-route, locals and back-packers, are really entertaining. Well worth reading.
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Format: Paperback
I must admit I had to read this in one sitting. Not for the fact that I liked it, but unfortunetly I have a habit of once starting a book, no matter how bad, I have to finish it. And I needed to finish this one pretty quickly. I did like Marks love of the continent, but that wasn't enough to keep the story together. It was almost like reading my sisters diary when a child, but without the secrets, gossip and intrigue. And that’s all this was - a diary, speckled with historical snip bits. The trouble with diaries that are published as stories is they lack the beginning, middle and end needed to satisfy the reader. To be fair, I could have forgiven him for missing the first two out. The Gringo Trail is a collection of experiences that fail to deliver on their promises of excitement and discovery, and makes you end up wishing Mark had made it up instead. Which I’m sure he is very capable of doing. Some true stories are well worth telling, and this is one of them... but more in the pub than published sense.
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